PHARR, TX — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry recently intercepted Asian Citrus Psyllids, known carriers of citrus greening disease, from a vehicle and commercial shipments of limes in three separate enforcement actions.
“Our vigilant CBP agriculture specialists at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry helped safeguard American agriculture and our local citrus industry by intercepting three Asian Citrus Psyllids, which are known vectors or carriers of citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing,” said Efrain Solis, CBP Port Director, Hidalgo. “Citrus greening disease, if allowed to establish itself, can have a catastrophic effect on citrus trees and the local citrus industry, which also would generate a significant economic impact as well.”
The most recent interception occurred on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 when a CBP officer had referred a vehicle driven by a 48-year-old male driver from Mission, Texas for a secondary agricultural inspection. During that examination, CBP agriculture specialists examined a bag of key limes and observed a live insect amid the limes. Upon closer examination, isolation and verification of the insect through U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologists in Los Indios, the insect was positively identified as Diaphorina citri Kuwayama or Asian Citrus Psyllid.
The discovery of Asian Citrus Psyllids in the commercial environment occurred on October 9th and 10th during CBP agriculture specialist examinations of commercial lime shipments at the Pharr Import Lot. In each case, the insect was observed amid the commercial shipments of limes. A USDA entomologist positively identified both insects as Diaphorina citri Kuwayama or Asian Citrus Psyllids. The lime shipments were refused entry and returned to Mexico.
Citrus greening is a disease caused by a bacterium that can infect most citrus varieties and some ornamental plants (such as orange jasmine) and was first detected in the U.S. in 2005 in Miami-Dade County, Fla. According to the USDA, the disease has seriously affected citrus production in India, Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa.
CBP would like to remind travelers to declare all agricultural items upon their arrival to the U.S. to help our agricultural specialists prevent the introduction of this devastating citrus greening disease.
Photo courtesy of Customs and Border Protection