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Destructive plant pests detected at Philadelphia ports

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists in Wilmington recently intercepted two destructive insect pests – an Ochrostomus sp., commonly known as a seed bug, in a shipment of Brazilian grapes on October 5, and Diaphania sp., commonly known as a cucumber moth, in a shipment of Costa Rican pumpkins October 7.

Ports in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey rank first for imported produce for 17 produce products, including popular fruits and vegetables such as apples, avocadoes, bananas, grapes, lemons, oranges and pineapples from Central and South America.

Additionally, the ports import dozens of other produce products, including pumpkins. Collectively, CBP agriculture specialists clear more than 2.5 million tons of perishable goods worth about $5 billion.

The potential impact of a pest introduced into the United States can be catastrophic. For example, invasive species cause $138 billion annually in economic and environmental losses in the United States, including yield and quality losses for America’s agriculture industry. explains how, in order to combat the threats posed by invasive insects and weeds, CBP collaborates extensively with industry partners, such as the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, importers, shippers, terminal operators, shipping lines, and customs brokers to implement innovative mitigation strategies that improve import efficiency while enhancing safeguarding measures.

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