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Guam Customs intercepts cargo container crawling with destructive beetle species

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency has stopped the entry of a 40-foot shipping container from China, which was found infested with a destructive beetle species with a high potential of being invasive to Guam.

The agency said Customs officers found velvet longhorn beetles, or Trichoferus campestris, crawling among cardboard boxes within the container during a satellite inspection in Yigo on June 18.

A number of wood pallets contained tree bark, bore holes, and frass, a fine powder of perforated wood or waste produced by boring insects.

The velvet longhorn beetle, which is not native to Guam, is a wood-boring

pest that can harm and potentially kill softwood and hardwood fruit trees, officials said.

The agency said the container has been resealed, placed in quarantine and is being prepared for re-exportation. The importer has signed the federal emergency action notification issued by the agency.

The container was carrying tightly-packed building materials, including wood-packing materials and pallets not bearing the required International Plant Protection Convention markings.

Officers with maritime and biosecurity units collected samples of the beetles for further identification. Specialists at the Guam Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture are collaborating with Customs officers to make the proper determinations and dispositions for the 

biosecurity threats reaching the island’s borders and ports of entry.

Officials said samples were also sent to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Guam currently struggles to control several invasive species, such as the brown tree snake and coconut rhinoceros beetle, which threaten the island’s natural biodiversity. It costs nearly $4 million a year in repairs and eradication efforts to manage invasive species.

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