U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists stationed at the Tacoma seaport intercepted four Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) eggs masses within a recent four day period. Each of these egg masses contains hundreds of eggs of this devastating plant pest.
AGM is a voracious pest that can eat the foliage of more than 500 different species of forest trees and other plants. This pest is of particular concern because AGM has the potential to spread quickly since the female moth can fly up to 25 miles. If established in the United States, AGM could decimate America’s forest resources and agriculture production.
“These two interceptions highlight the diligent work that CBP agriculture specialists perform in safeguarding American agriculture from harmful pests and plant diseases,” said Area Port Director Mark Wilkerson.
On July 6th, CBP agriculture specialists in Tacoma discovered an egg mass on a merchant container vessel deck. The vessel had arrived from ports in Japan where AGM is known to occur. The AGM egg mass was submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for identification.
On July 9th, CBP agriculture specialists in Tacoma again conducted an inspection of a merchant vessel arriving from Japan for any presence of AGM. CBP targeted the vessel for inspection because of the AGM discovery four days earlier and because six AGM egg masses on the vessel were discovered by Japanese agriculture specialists prior to the vessel departure from Japan. A total of three AGM egg masses were found on the starboard side of three decks while in Tacoma.
All egg masses were removed, and each affected area was treated to kill any remaining eggs.