CBP stops pest on flower shipment in Phoenix
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Agriculture said they stopped a potentially destructive plant pest in a shipment of fresh orchids from Thailand that arrived in the Phoenix airport on June 29.
The agencies identified the pest as Thrips palmi (or melon thrips). The USDA said it was the first time melon thrips had been discovered on a shipment of cut flowers arriving at a port of entry in Arizona, and the first time in more than 17 years that this pest has been found on an international shipment destined for Arizona through another part of the country.
CBP said the flowers were fumigated to kill the pest and allowed to continue to their destination.
The melon thrips feeds on more than 200 different varieties of ornamental and agricultural crops, including onions, peppers, melons, cucumbers, soybeans, cotton, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, orchids and sunflowers. The pest is a major threat in many countries in Asia, South and Central America, and Europe. In the United States, it has limited distribution in Florida and Hawaii.