A recent moth interception by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) is now considered to be the first encounter of the species since 1912.
The initial encounter was incidental to a September 2021 inspection of an arriving passenger flight from the Philippines. Agriculture specialists discovered seeds in the personal baggage of a passenger who claimed the pods were for medicinal tea. Upon closer inspection, apparent insect exit holes were discovered in the seed pods that were ultimately intercepted by CBP.
Moth larvae and pupae were collected for further analysis, and while in quarantine, several of the pupae hatched to reveal “very flashy” moths with raised patches of black setae (bristles). Physical characteristics indicated the moths to be members of family Pyralidae, however genius or species were not able to be determined by agriculture specialist and specimens were submitted to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for further identification.