It marks the first time the Ocoaxo bivittus Walker has been seen in the U.S.
By Diego Flammini
A recent find by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agriculture specialists marks the first time a particular pest has been seen in the U.S.
On May 17, inspectors at the Colombia Solidarity Bridge import lot intercepted a spittlebug or frog hopper inside a shipment of cut flowers.
Further USDA entomology testing confirmed the bug as Ocoaxo bivittus Walker (Cercopidae).
These insects can jump from plant to plant and are known for their plant-sucking nymphs.
These nymphs pierce plants and use the sap to form a cover of foam resembling saliva. The foam protects the small insects from predators and protects them from the heat and cold.
In the insect discovered by the CBP ag inspectors, it attacks pine trees and causes a disease called “pine decline.”
Related insects can feed on strawberry alfalfa, clover and other plants.
This discovery is an example of how CBP ag inspectors keep U.S. agriculture safe.
“I want to congratulate our agriculture specialists at Laredo Port of Entry for their diligence and attention to detail that resulted in the interception of a first in the nation pest,” said Port Director Alberto Flores in a statement. “Their outstanding work helps to secure American agriculture from serious economic harm that can be inflicted by infiltration of pest species not known to exist in the U.S.”