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Mining bee discovered in celery shipment

A U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist has confirmed the discovery of a mining bee while inspecting a shipment of celery.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist confirmed Thursday that U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the San Luis commercial facility in Arizona discovered a new pest in the U. S. when they intercepted, Perdita sp. (Andrenidae), also known as a mining bee, while inspecting a shipment of celery on April 6.

On April 9, a national USDA identifier confirmed the specimen as a new pest, requiring quarantine action because of the risk of introducing disease and parasites from other countries to U.S. bees.

The family Andrenidae are usually ground-nesting bees that are most commonly found in areas of sandy soil. The produce shipment was placed on hold and the specimen was sent to the local identifier for further identification.

“The CBP agriculture specialists at the Port of San Luis work hard to balance the dual missions of protecting American agriculture and facilitating legitimate trade in and out of the United States,” said Acting Port Director Roque Caza.

CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA’s, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine to protect the nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.

On a typical day, CBP specialists inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the U.S. and seize 4,919 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 476 insect pests.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of U.S. borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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