Customs and Border Protection’s agriculture specialists at Port Manatee, Fla., recently stopped the potential introduction of a highly destructive agricultural pest, known as the New World army ant, which was detected in a shipment arriving from Mexico.
The CBP ag specialists found the ants during an inspection of malangas, a starchy root vegetable commonly eaten in South America. The agency said it was the first time the pest had been detected at a Florida port of entry.
On a typical day in fiscal year 2018, the agency said its agriculture specialists intercepted 319 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,552 materials for quarantine, including plants, meats, animal byproducts and soil.
Earlier this week, CBP announced that it was taking applications to fill new agriculture specialist positions in ports of entry throughout the U.S. The agency said it will close the job opening when it receives 400 applications.
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