Biological Invasions

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 323-332

Arrival rate of nonindigenous insect species into the United States through foreign trade

  • Timothy T. WorkAffiliated withFaculté des Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal Email author 
  • , Deborah G. McCulloughAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology and Department of Forestry, 243 Natural Science, Michigan State University
  • , Joseph F. CaveyAffiliated withAnimal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, USDA
  • , Ronald KomsaAffiliated withAnimal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, USDA

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Introductions of invasive nonindigenous species, and the ensuing negative ecological and economic consequences, have increased with expanding global trade. Quantifying the influx of nonindigenous plant pest species through foreign trade is required for national and international risk assessments, monitoring and conservation efforts, and evaluation of ecological factors that affect invasion success. Here we use statistically robust data collected at US ports of entry and border crossings to estimate arrival rates of nonindigenous insect species via four cargo pathways and to evaluate the effectiveness of current efforts to monitor arrival of nonindigenous insect species. Interception rates were highest in refrigerated maritime cargo where a new insect species was intercepted on average every 54 inspections. Projected estimates of insect species richness stabilized only for non-refrigerated maritime cargo and US–Mexico border cargo, where inspectors likely detected 19–2% and 30–50% of the species being transported through these respective pathways. Conservative estimates of establishment suggest that 42 insect species may have become established through these four pathways between 1997 and 2001.


arrival rates exotic insects foreign trade invasion globalization nonindigenous pathways plant pests