Oct 22, 2014
What does moth find mean for apple industry?

On Oct. 8, a USDA entomologist confirmed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Lewiston Bridge border crossing near Buffalo, New York, intercepted an invasive insect, Phaecasiophora fernaldana Walsingham, a moth from the Tortricidae family. This is a first-in-nation pest discovery and is not known to exist in the Western Hemisphere, according to CBP.

This moth poses a potentially significant threat to the agriculture industry because it is known to feed on apples, apple buds, leaves and shoots, according to CBP.

On Oct. 6, CBP agriculture specialists at the Lewiston Bridge crossing inspected a truck hauling an ocean container full of pump valves that originated in China. During the inspection, a pest resembling a moth was discovered and forwarded to a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) entomologist and identified as Phaecasiopha fernaldana Walsingham.

CBP issued an emergency action notification to the importer, and following CBP procedures the shipment will be re-exported to Canada.

What impact, if any, this find will have on China’s efforts to export its apples into the United States is not clear. APHIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register in July, seeking to amend regulations to allow the importation of fresh Chinese apples into the continental United States. The public comment period on the proposal closed Sept. 16.

A representative of the U.S. Apple Association had no comment on the moth find, stating that the association has no information other than what was provided by CBP.

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