Agricultural specialists at Texas-Mexico border intercept 2 species of pests that are rare in U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said this week that agricultural specialists with the agency in recent months have intercepted two species of pests that are rare in the U.S. at ports of entry at the Texas-Mexico border.

One of the two, Cyclocephala forcipulata, a species from the scarab beetle family that is found in Mexico, was found July 7 in a shipment of jackfruit coming across the Pharr–Reynosa International Bridge, CBP reported.

“Scarab pests can cause agricultural and economic damage as their larvae eat plant roots and adults feed on their aerial parts of plants,” the agency said in a news release issued Tuesday.

On June 9, agricultural specialists intercepted a shipment of flowers with Alampyris fuliginea, another species of beetle, at the Veterans International Bridge in Brownsville, the agency said.

It was the first time that the species were intercepted at U.S. ports of entry, CBP officials said. Entomologists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture helped identify both species, the agency said.

“First-in-nation pest interceptions are rare,” CBP spokesman Rick Pauza said. “The idea that we have two of them in quick succession — that definitely speaks well of the job that our agricultural specialists are doing.”

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