BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — For the second time in two months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted a rare “First in Nation” pest at the Texas-Mexico border.

Alampyris fuliginea beetle (credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The Alampyris fuliginea beetle was found in a commercial shipment of cut flowers from Mexico on June 9. A U.S. Department of Agriculture area entomologist identified it for agents at the Veterans International Bridge import lot.

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About 20 days later, a National Specialist with USDA Animal and Plant Health Services confirmed it was the beetle, which is a species in the family Cerambycidae. It’s a quarantine significant pest requiring phytosanitary action to prevent spread. Given the quarantine status of Alampyris fuliginea, the shipment of flowers was re-exported as a precautionary measure.

“The work performed by our CBP agriculture specialists is an important element in safeguarding our nation’s agriculture by preventing the entry of pests and animal and plant diseases not known to exist in the U.S.,” said Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry.

The discovery of the Alampyris fuliginea beetle happened about a month before agriculture specialists at the Pharr cargo facility discovered another rare “First in Nation” pest at the Texas-Mexico border — Cyclocephala forcipulata. It was inside a box of jackfruit from a commercial shipment arriving from Mexico. The scarab beetle is found in Mexico and can cause agricultural and economic damage as their larvae eat plant roots and adults feed on their aerial parts of plants.

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That shipment was refused entry and returned to Mexico. According to USDA entomologists, this was the first time the Cyclocephala forcipulata was found at any of the U.S. ports of entry.

CBP refused entry to the shipment and returned it back to Mexico.


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