The Savannah Port found an unexpected visitor last month on a shipment of tiles from China. A yellow-spotted stink bug was seemingly trying to hitch a ride to Illinois.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists intercepted the pest, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist confirmed the species, Erthesina Fullo, Feb. 13.
The yellow-spotted stink bug is native to Asia, including China and Japan. The bug has been known to cause damage to the foliage of deciduous trees, such as hardwoods and fruit trees.
The container shipment of tiles was fumigated, determined to be free of pest, and released.
“CBP’s comprehensive approach to border management and control includes protecting agriculture and U.S. economic interests from harmful pests and diseases,” said Lisa Beth Brown, area port director in Savannah. “Working with our partners in USDA and agriculture groups within the state is critical to prevent potentially harmful plant pests and foreign animal diseases from entering the U.S.”
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agriculture inspections. This recent catch at Port of Savannah is one of 200 dangerous pests/invasive plant material and other agricultural issues found over the past few months.
CBP is charged with the task of securing the country from terrorists and their weapons while facilitating legitimate trade and travel, including the monitoring of millions of sea cargo containers as they pass through seaports every year. Each day, CBP officers screen thousands of shipping containers at the Port of Savannah, the nation’s third busiest seaport.