A vessel arriving at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport from Japan was ordered out of U.S. waters after two dozen Asian gypsy moth egg masses were detected by federal agriculture specialists, it was announced Tuesday.
The specialists from U.S. Customs and Border Protection boarded the vessel last week and found the egg masses in different areas of the ship, including the gangway, main deck and hatches, and superstructure, along with one dead adult moth, said Lee Harty of CBP.
Although the moths have never become established in North America, introduction of the pest into the U.S. “would pose a major threat of defoliation and deterioration to forest habitats,” according to CBP.
“CBP is at the frontline of our borders to prevent the entry of such pests and takes an aggressive approach with inspection, isolation and exclusion of contaminated species,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP’s director of Los Angeles field operations.
Due to the higher number and locations of the egg masses found, the vessel was immediately moved to international waters for treatment and removal of the pests. It was re-inspected four days later and found to be free of pests.