Three 'first-in-port' insects hitchhike to Port of Savannah on tile, stone shipments

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Three small bugs made the journey across the pond to Savannah, hitchhiking on cargo ships headed to the ports.

Agriculture specialists found three insects that have never been seen in the Port of Savannah: a pigeon tick, straight-snouted weevil and a tortoise beetle.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) workers found the critters on tile and stone shipments from Turkey and Italy.

"The work performed by our agriculture specialists directly impacts our lives by keeping insects, noxious weeds, contaminated soil and other threats out of our country," said Lisa Beth Brown, CBP Savannah Area Port Director. "The discovery of these unique and threatening pests during cargo inspections highlights the hard work of the dedicated CBP staff."

Each year, agriculture specialists find tens of thousands of pests that pose potential risks to the health and safety of shipments. According to the CBP, inspectors can intercept 4,638 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products on a typical day. Those numbers include 404 pests like the ones found in the mentioned shipments.

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