‘First-in-nation interception’: US Customs Agents find rare beetle in flower shipment at Texas-Mexico border

A specimen of Alampyris fuliginea Bates, 1881 (Cerambycidae) a first in nation pest interception by CBP agriculture specialists at Brownsville Port of Entry. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents recently intercepted a rare beetle at the Texas-Mexico border.

In a release, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency described the find as a “First-in-Nation interception.” According to USDA entomologists, the insect had never before been found at any of the nation’s ports of entry.

Agriculture specialists made the discovery on June 9 at the Veterans International Bridge in the Rio Grande Valley. The CBP agriculture specialists located the insect alive while inspecting a commercial shipment of cut flowers from Mexico.

RELATED: Feral hogs and fire ants and slugs, oh my! These are the invasive intruders Texans should keep an eye out for

The agriculture specialists sent the insect to a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomology laboratory, which identified it as Alampyris fuliginea, a species of beetle found in Mexico.

The shipment was refused entry and returned to Mexico.

“The work performed by our CBP agriculture specialists is an important element in safeguarding our nation’s agriculture by preventing the entry of pests and animal and plant diseases not known to exist in the U.S.,” said Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry.

The beetle was found just a month before the U.S. Customs agents intercepted another rare beetle at the Texas-Mexico border. CBP agriculture specialists located an invasive scarab beetle alive in a box of jackfruit while inspecting a commercial shipment of fresh produce from Mexico.

RELATED: Giant African Snails seized at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport


About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.