The US has sent back to India a container of imported aluminium billets after agriculture specialists spotted a green rice leafhopper in it, according to the Customs and Border Protection officials. The US Department of Agriculture confirmed that a Nephotettix Nigropictus (Cicadellidae), commonly known as a green rice leafhopper, was the first-ever discovery of this insect in the Delaware Valley in Pennsylvania. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists discovered it in a container of aluminum billets from India on March 11. "The container was ordered re-exported," the CBP said. Additionally in May, the specialists discovered five wood borers, including a live immature Cerambycidae larva inside wood dunnage in a container of steel structures from Italy. They also found a live immature Cerambycidae larva on May 13 inside wood dunnage in a container of steel from Switzerland; two live adult Cerambycidae insects on May 18 inside wood dunnage in a container of dunnage and steel from Brazil. The CBP said its inspectors also discovered live immature Siricidae larva on May 19 inside a container of dunnage and steel from Turkey. Cerambycidae are commonly known as longhorn beetles; Siricidae are commonly known as horntail or wood wasps. All are wood-boring actionable insect pests. In each case, the specialists discovered holes in wood dunnage and used tools to cut and chisel out the insect pests. Wood dunnage is used in shipping containers to brace and stabilise commodities during transport. International conventions require that wood dunnage and packing materials are certified to be treated and pest free. The CBP submitted the specimens to a local United States Department of Agriculture entomologist for identification, which determined an appropriate mitigation strategy. In each case, the importer destroyed the dunnage by incineration. "Customs and Border Protection's agriculture protection mission is vital to our nation's agricultural resources and economic security and these discoveries, including this first-in-port leafhopper, is evidence of our agriculture specialists' tireless efforts every day to intercept destructive, invasive pests," said Casey Durst, CBP's Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.
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