United States

Officials Nab Dangerous Pests Hitchhiking on Halloween Pumpkins

This is scary: U.S. customs officials recently caught some dangerous creepy-crawlies trying to hitch a ride in your Halloween pumpkin.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agriculture specialists intercepted one of those pests, the flower longhorn beetle, in Wilmington earlier this month in a shipment of pumpkins from Costa Rica.

When those beetles are larvae, they can damage trees by boring beneath the bark.

During an inspection of the pumpkin shipment on Oct. 4, the specialists discovered seven beetle larvae boring through wood packaging material.

The importer chose to re-export the pumpkins and wood packaging back to Costa Rica instead of destroying the shipment, the CBP said in a press release.

“CBP agriculture specialists continue to exercise extraordinary vigilance and conduct stringent inspections of vessels and their cargo in the fight to protect agriculture and economic prosperity locally, and nationally, from these invasive hitchhiker pests,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office, in the release.

On an average day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 4,552 prohibited plants, meats, animal byproducts and shipments of soil.

Specialists also intercepted 319 insect pests at U.S. ports.

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