RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The United States Customs and Border Protection is investigating after a rare pest was found in a shipment of coconuts.
On Sept. 17, agents inspected a trailer with a shipment of coconuts at the Rio Grande City International Bridge import lot.
A CBP release says during the inspection, officers found a pest later identified, by the USDA entomologists, as a Hapigia. According to the USDA’s Pest ID Database, this was the first time the pest was found in a port interception.
The entry of the trailer was canceled, and the shipment was re-exported to Mexico.
“Significant pest interceptions like these, help to protect American agriculture from serious economic harm that can be inflicted by infiltration of pest species not known to exist in the U.S.,” said Port Director Rogelio Olivares, Rio Grande City Port of Entry.
The Hapigia falls under Notodontindae, which is a family of moths with 3,800 known species. Notodontidae typically feed on trees or shrubs and some cause noticeable defoliation of their hosts.