HOUSTON, Texas - Customs agents recently discovered invasive, wood-munching pests on two foreign cargo ships docked in the Port of Houston.
The first creature, commonly known as a snout beetle, was discovered Sept. 16 on a ship from Brazil. Days later, customs agents discovered longhorn beetles boring holes into wood packaging of cargo from Russia and Ukraine.
In both cases, the impacted packaging was ordered back onto the ship, but the cargo itself -- which was not made of wood -- was allowed to enter the country.
An infestation of wood-boring pests can be detrimental to trees and other forestry, potentially leaving them damaged and susceptible to disease or even dead.
"Protecting our nation from harmful plant pests and exotic diseases that could cause great devastation to U.S. Agriculture is of great importance," said port director Roderick W. Hudson. "CBP agriculture specialists perform important work like this each and every day."
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