U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists have intercepted live insects in a mail package at Miami International Mail facility.
On April 28, mail that arrived from the United Kingdom destined for California received further inspection by CBP agriculture specialists following an x-ray of the package. The examination revealed 11 live insects that were secured and promptly submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Miami Plant Inspection Station for identification.
“This type of interception is significant, as the introduction of these caterpillars into our agriculture system could cause immeasurable damage,” said Christopher Maston, CBP Port Director at Miami International Airport. “CBP agriculture specialists perform work that is critical to protecting the U.S. agriculture industry by preventing the introduction of harmful pests into the country.”
The USDA identified these insects as Attacus atlas caterpillars. This type of caterpillar is a serious agricultural pest that feeds voraciously on the foliage of fruit-plants like citrus and guava resulting in severe damage.
In fiscal year 2019, CBP agriculture specialists conducted more than 1.7 million interceptions of prohibited plant materials, meat, and animal byproducts at ports of entry while also stopping nearly 118,000 potentially dangerous pests.