CBP said caterpillars can pose a significant agriculture threat because they feed on a wide variety of important agriculture crops.
It said infestation can lead to a decrease in productivity and quality of crops, which can result in significant economic loss.
“When bacteria and fungi enter the injury caused by the feeding caterpillars, indirect effects such as rotting or early dropping of fruits can occur,” CBP said, noting that the Chrysauginae caterpillar was discovered while inspecting soursop leaves in the passenger’s luggage at Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.
CBP said officials seized the infested leaves and forwarded a specimen to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) entomologist for identification.
“CBP agriculture specialists are very good at detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests,” said Dianna Bowman CBP Area Port Director for the Port of Baltimore.