Mhlnews 1070 Beetle5f03102006

CBP Agriculture Specialist Intercepts Beetle

March 1, 2006
This is the first time this dangerous Beetle has been found in the United States U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for ensuring

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for ensuring that no intruders enter the United States undetected. This includes intruders of the six-legged variety. On March 1, 2006, CBP Agriculture Specialists were conducting an inspection of merchandise arriving from China, when they discovered a

long-horned beetle, Rhytidodera bowringii, in a container of granite counter tops.

The live beetle was captured by a CBP Agriculture Specialist and sent to the USDA National Identification Service located in Washington, DC. Scientists there identified the beetle and verified that it was a first time interception in the United States.

The pest attacks mango trees, cashew and other trees by burrowing into trunks and branches, causing branch breakage, dieback, and eventually death. It has been reported that this pest is responsible for the destruction of more than 100 mango plantations on Hainan Island in China.

Florida is the number one producer of mangos in the United States. Over eighty percent of Florida mango production occurs in Miami-Dade County. Following an outbreak of citrus canker in Florida, and the ensuing destruction of millions of citrus trees throughout the state, many residents planted mango trees. The long-horned beetle poses a serious threat to Florida trees. CBP will continue to take the appropriate steps to keep this beetle and other agricultural pests that pose a threat out of the United States.

"This significant pest interception demonstrates the critical nature of the CBP mission, and the expertise of our highly trained CBP Agriculture Specialists," stated Thomas S. Winkowski, CBP Director, Field Operations, Miami Field Office. "If this pest were to infest our mango trees, the results could be devastating to our local crops and could have significant economic impact on Florida farmers," he added.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection