U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport recently intercepted and prevented the entry of a rarely encountered agricultural pest on a commercial shipment of cut flowers arriving from Costa Rica.
On March 04, 2013, CBP Agriculture Specialists inspected a shipment of cut Bromeliad flowers arriving on a flight from Costa Rica to the Atlanta International Airport.
The CBP Agriculture Specialists found a live “leaf hopper” on the fresh flowers and submitted the insect to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologists for identification. USDA identified the pest as Carthaeomorpha rufipes, and confirmed that this insect could become a significant agricultural pest if introduced into the United States. USDA also confirmed this was the first time this pest was intercepted arriving to the United States.
The shipment of flowers was destroyed by an approved method to prevent the introduction of a potentially harmful agricultural pest into the United States.
CBP Agriculture Specialists protect America's agricultural resources by detecting and preventing the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases into the United States.
“Our best defense against destructive pests is to prevent their entry into the United States. The cost to American taxpayers to eradicate a pest or disease once it becomes established in the U.S. can reach billions of dollars” said Stephen Kremer, Area Port Director for Customs and Border Protection in Atlanta.