Invasive moth falls prey to Customs and Border Protection experts

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed a moth discovered May 7 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists was the first local discovery of the moth species Hylesia sp., Saturniidae.

CBP agriculture specialists discovered the live adult moth while inspecting bananas from Honduras. Agriculture specialists submitted images of the specimen to the USDA entomologist who determined the pest to be Hylesia, an invasive pest of the giant silkworm moth family generally known to occur in South America.

Hylesia sp. is a forestry pest. In their larvae and caterpillar stages, they are voracious consumers of tree, shrub and crop plant leaves.

CBP discovered no other invasive pests and released the shipment of bananas for transport to Broward County, Florida.

“Customs and Border Protection’s agriculture protection mission is vital to our nation’s economic health, and this first-in-port discovery is evidence of our agriculture specialists’ tireless efforts to intercept potential dangerous invasive pests,” said Ronald Krempa, CBP port director for the port of Wilmington. “CBP remains steadfastly committed to ensuring our agriculture industries remain vibrant by intercepting invasive insects, noxious weeds and animal diseases when we encounter them at our nation’s international ports of entry.”

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection.

On a typical day nationally, specialists inspect more than 1 million people as well as land, air and sea cargo imported to the U.S., and intercept 314 agriculture pests and 4,695 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products. Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2019 at

CBP's agriculture protection mission is led at ports of entry by CBP agriculture specialists from the Office of Field Operations.

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