Beetles, weevils, invasive insects, oh my! 2 pests try hitchhiking into Wilmington

WILMINGTON, DE (KYW Newsradio) — Two invasive insects were recently found inside cargo containers at the Port of Wilmington and the discovery of agricultural pests at points of entry in the United State is more common than you may think.

Although weevils and longhorned beetles have been found in other ports of entry in the country, it’s the first time they were discovered at the port of Wilmington.

“When we do encounter something that is first in port it’s a huge achievement and it’s sort of a reward for customs and boarder protection agricultural specialists who work tirelessly every day in search of these insect pests and tons of imported produce that comes through the port of Wilmington,” Philadelphia Customs and Boarder Protection spokesman Steve Sapp explains. “It’s sort of like hey you know we’ve did something great. We’ve found something new. This is really awesome. This is pretty exciting.  But at the same time it is also a new warning for us that there is now a new threat being targeted towards the agricultural industry in Delaware.”

He says the long-horned beetle was found inside a container of cassava from Costa Rica. The weevil was inside a pineapple container that came from Guatemala.

Officials tells us both containers were fumigated following the discovery.

“The mitigation strategy Customs and Border protection uses is generally directed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and based on the invasive insect or the insect that we encounter. And those mitigation strategies could include anything from fumigation of the commodities inside the container up to and including a re-export which means re-shipping the entire container and its contents out of the United States,” Sapp said. “Now, that can either be back to where the source country where it was loaded or if the importer can identify a third party that would be willing to accept that commodity they can make that arrangement too.”

On average Customs and Boarder Protection agricultural specialist intercept more than 300 agricultural pests each day throughout the country.

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