The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed a moth discovered May 7 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists was the first local discovery of the moth species Hylesia sp., Saturniidae.
CBP agriculture specialists discovered the live adult moth while inspecting bananas from Honduras. Agriculture specialists submitted images of the specimen to the USDA entomologist who determined the pest to be Hylesia, an invasive pest of the giant silkworm moth family generally known to occur in South America.
Hylesia sp. is a forestry pest. In their larvae and caterpillar stages, they are voracious consumers of tree, shrub and crop plant leaves. CBP discovered no other invasive pests and released the shipment of bananas for transport to Broward County, Florida.
“Customs and Border Protection’s agriculture protection mission is vital to our nation’s economic health, and this first-in-port discovery is evidence of our agriculture specialists’ tireless efforts to intercept potential dangerous invasive pests,” said Ronald Krempa, CBP port director for the port of Wilmington. “CBP remains steadfastly committed to ensuring our agriculture industries remain vibrant by intercepting invasive insects, noxious weeds and animal diseases when we encounter them at our nation’s international ports of entry.”