Rare destructive beetle intercepted at LA port

AP News
Posted: Jul 29, 2011 7:11 PM
Rare destructive beetle intercepted at LA port

Southern California port officials say a rare and destructive beetle has been discovered for the first time in the state and just the second time in the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement Friday that agriculture specialists at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex intercepted the live adult beetle in a shipment of pineapple from Costa Rica, and immediately began working to return it.

The insect _ strongylaspis corticarius Ancita _ is a cousin of the Asian long-horned beetle. Officials say their larvae consume wood, bark, stems and plant fluids, posing a serious threat to the U.S. forest and timber industry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the beetle was last intercepted in Miami in 1999, the only other time it appeared in the country.