U. S. Customs & Border Protection Agriculture Inspections Hitchhikers & wood borers in/on tile shipments, containers and wood packaging material
Large quantities of ceramic tile & quarry products are exported from the Mediterranean, particularly Italy and Spain, to the United States. Also, China is a big exporter of tile/stone.
Before shipment, tiles are stacked onto pallets and often stored in or near weedy fields
Snails and insect pests may be attracted to the warmth and moisture in pallets
How to minimize risk of hitchhikers at the point of origination for tile shipments: Storage yards should have a suitable base (i.e. asphalt or cement); Storage yards should be kept free of plants; If appropriate, the boundaries of storage yards, in particular where bordering with meadows, uncultivated zones and flowerbeds, should provide a barrier to the entrance of gastropods through the use of suitable products (continuous barrier of iron sulfate to be renewed weekly or after every rain and baits made of metaldehyde to be spread in the most suitable areas); Where possible, pallets should be kept inside storehouses; Pallets should be kept outdoor for the shortest time possible in the center of the store yard and not near the perimeter; Hitchhikers
It is recommended to ship to the USA only the most recently packed tiles; Prior to loading, pallets should be inspected for gastropods and insects. If any such pests are found on the cargo, the pallets should be excluded or repacked. Prior to loading shipment, containers should be inspected for gastropods and insects inside and outside. If gastropods or insects are found, the container should be replaced or cleaned. Container loading should be done during day-time hours to minimize the risk of flying hitchhiker pests, which could be attracted to lights at night. Hitchhikers
The class Gastropoda includes snails and slugs of all kinds and all sizes from microscopic to quite large. Snails and slugs feed on a variety of living plants and on decaying plant matter. They chew irregular holes with smooth edges in leaves and flowers and can clip succulent plant parts. They also can chew fruit and young plant bark. Because they prefer succulent foliage or flowers, they primarily are pests of seedlings and herbaceous plants, but they also are serious pests of ripening fruits that are close to the ground such as strawberries, artichokes, and tomatoes. They also will feed on foliage and fruit of some trees; citrus are especially susceptible to damage. Look for the silvery mucous trails to confirm slugs or snails caused the damage and not earwigs, caterpillars, or other chewing insects. Economic Impact – hitchhikers
How to minimize risk of wood borers at the point of origination: According to the USDA import regulations, all wood packaging material (WPM) must be heat treated to a minimum wood core temperature of 56 C for a minimum of 30 minutes – or Fumigation with methyl bromide. To certify treatment, the WPM must be marked with the following International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) logo: Wood borers XX represents the ISO country code 000 represents the unique number assigned by the national plant protection organization YY represents either HT or MB for methyl bromide fumigation.
Inspections for wood-borers • When IPPC stamp is missing on the wood, a manipulation request may be filed at the port and if approved, only the wood should be re-exported • However, if the wood is found to have a wood boring pest upon inspection, the whole shipment must be re-exported. • If the wood is found to have the hitchhiking pest (non wood boring) it may be fumigated by USDA. • Sometimes even the IPPC stamped wood carries wood boring larva in which case the only option is to re-export the whole shipment.
Ask your WPM provider if they are ISPM 15 compliant and accredited Provide information on the ISPM 15 standard Give them contact information regarding how to become compliant (websites, contact numbers) Do a cost benefit analysis if considering alternatives to wood packaging materials Be aware of countries’ timelines for implementation Realize there is a $ cost $ for noncompliance What Can Business Do to Comply with ISPM 15?
Many wooden shipping crates that enter the U.S. contain hungry stowaways: invasive species of insects. Although these pests often dine on trees, they also devour a different resource: money. After dividing up the invaders into three categories based on their diet—some insects bore through wood while others chew foliage or slurp sap—researchers chose the most damaging species from each category. Then they analyzed the cost of these “poster pests” to five sectors: federal and local governments, households, residential property values and timber values. The non-native bugs cost local governments a whopping $1.7 billion every year, while also gobbling up $830 million dollars in residential property values. [Juliann E. Aukema et al., "Economic Impacts of Non-Native Forest Insects in the Continental United States," in PLOS One] Economic Impact – wood borers