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Pest discovered in bananas at portA rare and destructive bug – seen in the United States only once before – was discovered in a shipment of bananas from Guatemala to the Port of Wilmington, customs officials said Monday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists found the leafhopper on March 16, spokesman Steve Sapp said.
An entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture identified it as Scaris sp. (Cicadellidae), a species of leafhopper from Central and South America, he said.
Officials verified Monday that the only previous recorded presence of the species – known to damage crops and spread infections from plant to plant – was in Miami in 2005, he said.
The shipment of bananas was released to the importer after the inspection was completed, Sapp said.
Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists typically check nearly 1 million passengers daily, along with air and sea cargo being imported to the United States, Sapp said, adding they are “the first line of defense” in protecting against the introduction of exotic destructive plant pests and animal diseases.
Publication date: 3/24/2015
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