Worries wood infested with beetles may have arrived in GB

Concerns have arisen about whether wood infested with a tree-destroying beetle was offloaded on Grand Bahama after the United States’ Customs and Border Protection discovered the wood on a ship anchored in the Mississippi River.

The boat was headed to Freeport, Grand Bahama, after it left New Orleans, according to an article in The New Orleans Advocate.

“The beetle, a member of the Cerambycidae family of longhorned beetles, bores into wood and can feed on a wide variety of trees in the US, eventually killing them,” the article states.

Also discovered was a type of ant, a member of the Myrmicinae family, that forms permanent colonies that can compete with native species and damage crops.

“The ship was ordered to leave US waters. It departed July 21 for Freeport, Grand Bahama, for wood disposal services. Federal agents inspecting a cargo ship near New Orleans ordered it out of the country after finding it was infested with a type of Asian beetle that has been destroying trees in the US for about 25 years.”

Noted Grand Bahama environmentalist Joseph Darville sent out a voice note that went viral yesterday, claiming the wood was offloaded on Grand Bahama, though that could not be independently verified by Guardian Business.

Darville said in the voice note that the wood ended up at a Grand Bahama landfill and was sprayed with a substance in an effort to kill the beetles after it was found that the wood might be contaminated with them.

“How in God’s name can something like that happen in a modern city like Freeport? Who allowed them to offload that stuff? This is unbelievable,” said Darville in the voice note.

“I hope whatever authority in this country will get onto that immediately. Are we becoming a dumping ground for poisonous materials that Mississippi would not even allow to dock there? Who cleared the ship? Who allowed it to be cleared in our waters for this stuff to be offloaded, to be landed in Freeport? This is absolutely unbelievable.”

Calls to Grand Bahama members of Parliament were not successful up to press time yesterday.

The article explained that if left uncontrolled, Cerambycids and other invasive wood-boring beetles could cause more than $100 billion in damage to the US economy.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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