Customs agents intercept insect in cargo from Afghanistan

Customs agents intercept insect in cargo from Afghanistan

Credit: US Customs and Border Patrol

Customs agents intercept insect in cargo from Afghanistan

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by 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 7:42 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 30 at 7:43 AM

NORFOLK-A moth doesn't necessarily seem like something that US Customs agents would be looking for when they inspect cargo coming into Hampton Roads.

Agents say one they spotted last month was the first one ever found in the U.S.and they're glad they stopped it.

The moth Autophila ligaminosa was discovered March 17 in cargo on a flight that landed at Naval Station Norfolk from Afghanistan. Everyone got off the plane, the hatch was closed and then the shipment was treated.

Also the moth was a male and could not lay eggs, agents want to keep these insects out of the country.  The moths feed off of the leaves of plants and trees and could have disastrous results if introduced into a new environment, they explained.

“First-in-Nation pest discoveries are particularly noteworthy because it provides a real sample for future identification efforts and provides a glimpse into possible pathways to the U.S.,” said Mark Laria, the Customs and Border Patrol Field Operations area port director in Norfolk.

He adds that this species of moth is typically found from the Near East and Middle East to south-eastern Russia, including the Balkans, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

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