Agricultural specialists intercept 'first-in-port' pests at San Diego cargo crossing

Agricultural specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted two pests in recent months identified as “first-in-port” and “first-in-nation” at the Otay Mesa cargo crossing in San Diego, federal officials announced last week.

Most recently, agricultural specialists discovered three species of Pseudococcidae, also known as mealybugs, in a shipment of rambutan fruit that arrived on June 22. The specialists identified the species of bug and confirmed it was a “first-in-port” interception, CBP officials announced.

Many species of the mealybugs are “considered pests as they feed on plant juices of plants and trees and act as a vector for several plant diseases,” officials said in a news release Friday. CBP added that in recent years, “some mealybug species have become invasive pests in localities posing a great problem to the new agroecosystems.”

In an earlier incident that occurred in May, officials at the Otay Mesa cargo facility found a live beetle in a shipment of flowers from Mexico. After identification, the beetle was identified to be a Dihammaphora hispida, a “first-in-port” and “first-in-nation” interception.

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