SAN DIEGO, CA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agricultural specialists detected an insect pest in a shipment containing fresh cut flowers at the Mesa Otay port of entry.
According to CBP, the seizure occurred after a search on October 23, 2022, when officers found a tractor-trailer with a shipment represented to be cut flowers. After an intensive inspection, an unusual insect was intercepted inside the flowers.
The pest was referred to USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Identifiers, who sent the specimen digitally to a laboratory for further identification. CBPAS applied precautionary measures and the shipment and driver were returned to Mexico.
CBP detailed that it was not until January 25, 2023 that the final identification of the pest was notified. The laboratory noted that it was Corimelaena palmeri, the first time this species had been found in the United States.
“Discovering a pest for the first time in the country at one of our ports of entry is an extraordinary achievement. Each year, CBP agriculture specialists intercept tens of thousands of pests, this achievement is a reflection of their immense hard work and dedication,” stated Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego.
CBP personnel reiterated to individuals wishing to import flowers, plant materials and other agricultural commodities to visit the U.S. introduction of agricultural commodities section of the agency’s website.