QUARANTINE PROCEDURES DURING IMPORTATION
OF BENEFICIAL ARTHROPODS
I. History of Federal Quarantine in the United States
A. 1905: Congress in response to the advice of many entomologists, passed the Insect Pest Act, which
regulates the entry and interstate movement of injurious insects.
B. 1912: Plant Quarantine Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to establish and enforce quarantines
needed to control entry and interstate movement of known "carrier plants."
1. this action was spirited by the presence of the brown tail moth and gypsy moth in New England and the
threat of their westward spread.
2. Federal Horticultural Board was established to administer this act.
3. the remarkable and highly successful eradication of the Parlatoria date scale was hailed as one of the
early successes of the Federal Horticultural Board. Quarantine against this pest was revoked in 1936.
Also, quarantine was revoked against the red date scale after it was found to be of no commercial importance.
C. 1915: Terminal Inspection Act.
1. provided that any state may establish terminal inspection stations at designated post offices.
2. a list of examined material is furnished to the Secretary of Agriculture.
D. 1928: Plant Quarantine and Control Administration.
1. part of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
2. assumed duties of the Federal Horticultural Board.
E. 1933: Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine.
1. agency functioned for more than two decades, being dissolved in 1957.
2. a separate administration of the research and regulatory program was sought.
F. Present time: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) enforces quarantine activities of the
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is in charge of the quarantine facilities
of which there are 10 federal and 10 state as of 1982.
II. Quarantine Policy at the University of California.
A. Primary Mission: Under the formal agreement among the U. S. Department of Agriculture, California State
Department of Food and Agriculture, University of California, and County Agricultural Commissioner, the
primary mission of the quarantine is the handling, under maximum security, of imported living entomophagous
and entomogenous organisms for the purposes of (1) screening out unwanted organisms and (2) conducting
biological studies sufficient to establish the primary feeding habit of the imported species.
Security involves (1) trained and dedicated personnel, (2) physical isolation from the mainstream of insectary
routine, and (3) allowing only the minimum number of persons necessary to perform the primary mission of
quarantine access to the quarantine facility. Point #3 minimizes the possibility of escape of potentially
hazardous organisms by reducing traffic. Accordingly, it has been the practice to allow a restricted number
of experienced technical personnel, duly authorized by memo from the Department Chairman, to enter the
side rooms of the quarantine facility for the purpose of assisting the quarantine officer in the initial rearing
effort, following primary screening in the main quarantine room. This arrangement is warranted only during
peak workloads when the quarantine officer requires additional assistance.
B. Secondary Mission: This concerns the processing of incoming material from other insectaries. it also
includes the processing of field material which is destined for use in the rearing program. The purpose of
processing such material in the quarantine facility is to greatly reduce the probability of contaminant
organisms gaining access to ongoing project rearing programs.
III. Quarantine Procedures.
A. Importation Plans.
1. the project leader shall notify the Department Chairman and Quarantine Officer by memo of plans to import
natural enemies. If host material and space are not readily available, this notification must occur 6 months
prior to anticipated receipt of material. If deemed necessary, the project leader shall provide the Quarantine
Officer with names of duly authorized personnel to provide host material and to assist in handling natural
2. the project leader shall provide the Quarantine Officer and the Department Office with a copy of his/her
approved PQ Form 26 as soon after its receipt as possible.
B. Material Originating from Foreign Exploration Programs.
This pertains to all shipments from outside California and to shipments from known quarantine areas within
the state. Normally, such material arrives with proper permits affixed and goes directly to the Quarantine Officer.
Unsolicited material likewise must immediately be consigned to the Quarantine Officer. Such material usually
originates innocently by individuals not fully aware of the hazards or regulations relating to importation. Any
shipment not clearly marked, that is suspected to contain live material, must also be consigned to the Quarantine
Officer for opening.
C. Cultures of Entomophagous or Phytophagous Species, Including Weed Feeders, from other Insectaries
Within or Outside of California.
Experience has repeatedly shown the danger of assuming that incoming material is (1) the species requested,
or (2) that it is free of contaminating species of parasitoids, predators, disease organisms or hosts. Such material
shall be processed in one of the auxiliary rooms of the quarantine facility by project personnel under the
supervision of the Quarantine Officer.
D. Local Quarantine Material.
1. occasionally, it is necessary to work with species in the insectary that are under local quarantine r
egulations as interpreted by the California State Department of Food and Agriculture and/or the ounty
Agricultural Commissioner. The Commissioner or designated agent may make an on-site inspection to satisfy
that the species in question will be handled in a manner to preclude escape. To keep such routine work
out of the quarantine wing, other rooms in the insectary may be designated as secondary local quarantine
and are to be locked when not occupied by personnel.
2. the project leader shall indicate to the Department Chairman by written memorandum the justification,
need, number of rooms required, and the anticipated duration of such work. After receiving permission
from the proper state and county authorities and after consulting with the Departmental Space and Quarantine
Procedures Committee, the Department Chairman shall notify the project leader and Quarantine Officer in
writing of the arrangements that are to be made.
3. the need for such facilities as outlined above should be anticipated well in advance of actual utilization
so that adjustments can be logically and amicably arranged. Otherwise, projects should expect to accommodate
their specific quarantine needs within space already assigned to them.
E. Phytophagous (Pest) Species: Occasionally, it is necessary to utilize field-collected host material in the
insectary production of beneficial species. Strict handling procedures must be observed to avoid jeopardizing
the program of primary interest as well as the programs of other projects. This attitude should be observed even
though the pest (host) species occurs in California, because populations from diverse localities may be genetically
different or may contain undesirable contaminants, such as the grain itch mite, Peymotes, which could be
transmitted throughout the insectary, thereby crippling the entire program, if not actually wiping out all projects.
F. Field Samples from Non-quarantine Areas for Population Counts or Natural Enemy Recovery Studies.
1. this type of work must not be performed in or near the insectary because of the very high probability of
escape and subsequent contamination of cultures in the insectary.
2. as an added safeguard, containers of field material must not be carried through the insectary when on the
way to a laboratory counting station. Material held in cold storage prior to counting should be carefully
handled to preclude any possibility of escape.
G. Deposition and Identification of Dead Specimens of Natural Enemies and Arthropod Hosts.
1. the original material and/or the F1 progeny (accompanied by quarantine identification memorandum) shall
be released to the project leader or his designated representative as soon as practical.
2. the project leader shall forward the material to a specialist under cover letter, bearing the appropriate data
and the quarantine identification memorandum number.
3. upon receipt of an identification, the project leader shall return the original or copy of the quarantine
identification memorandum to the Quarantine Officer, and shall deposit series of the properly labeled and
identified material in an appropriate location for future reference.
IV. During slack periods of natural enemy introduction, the auxiliary rooms of the quarantine facility may be virtually
idle: a situation that should be understood and tolerated by staff. With increasing pressure on space within the
Department, there will often be temptation to use these rooms on a temporary basis, but this cannot be condoned in
keeping with the existing quarantine agreement with the State and Federal governments.
A list of personnel authorized to enter the quarantine wing will be posed on the corridor door within the
anteroom. This list will be revised as the need demands. Authorization for entry will be made by the
Department Chairman after consultation with requesting project leaders.
Coulson, J. R. & R. S. Soper. 1989. Protocols for the introduction of biological agents in the United States, pp. 1-35. In: R. P.
Kahn (ed.), Plant Protection & Quarantine, Vol. 3, Special Topics. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, FL. 215 p.
Coulson, J. R., A. Carrell & D. L. Vincent. 1988. Releases of beneficial organisms in the United States and Territories--1981.
U. S. Dept. Agr., Misc. Publ. No. 1464. 324 pp.
Fisher, T. W. 1964. Quarantine handling of entomophagous insects. In: P. DeBach (ed.), Biological Control of Insect Pests
and Weeds. Reinhold Publ. Corp., New York. 844 p.
Fisher, T. W. & L. A. Andrés. 1999. Quarantine: concepts, facilities, procedures. In: Principles and Application of Biological
Control. Academic Press, San Diego, CA. 1046 p.