‘Invasive’ beetle known to cause agricultural damage intercepted at Texas-Mexico border

The longhorn beetle was found in maguey leaves

A specimen of Acanthoderes funeraria Bates (Cerambycidae) was found in produce at Roma Port of Entry. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Protection intercepted an “invasive” longhorn beetle at the Roma Port of Entry earlier this month.

A news release from the CBP states that the pest was spotted for the first time in the U.S. within maguey leaves — a flowering plant that’s in the agave family.

A tractor-trailer hauling the produce tried to enter the U.S. on July 18, the release states. Agents examined the shipment and found the beetle.

They then sent the beetle to be identified by a local U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist.

Two days later, the beetle was confirmed as an Acanthoderes funeraria Bates (Cerambycidae). The release states that beetles in the Cerambycidae family are known to feed on wood materials or plants, which could pose a threat to agriculture.

The tractor-trailer was denied entry into the U.S. and sent back to Mexico, the release adds.

“Our frontline CBP agriculture specialists at Roma Port of Entry examine a significant amount of fresh produce shipments on a daily basis and their tenacity and dedication to the mission of safeguarding American agriculture led to their discovery of this first in nation pest interception,” Andres Guerra, director of the Roma/Rio Grande City Port of Entry, said in the release.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.