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March 22, 2016

Beetle species that kills forests intercepted at Philly port

Bug is first of its kind found in U.S., authorities say

Environment Bugs
Beetle Philly port U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Source

This Ayriclytus macilentus beetle was intercepted in a shipment of pineapples that arrived at the Port of Philadelphia in January. The bug is the first of its kind found in the U.S. and is deadly to forests.

Authorities say a long horned beetle intercepted at the Port of Philadelphia is the first of its kind found in the United States.

The beetle species, known as Ayriclytus macilentus, poses a "significant threat" to coniferous and deciduous forests in the country as the bug kills live trees.

The bug seized in Philly was inside a container of 1,575 cases of fresh pineapples that arrived January 29, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.

When the beetle was found, CBP officials say they submitted the pineapple for fumigation and sent the pest to the USDA for identification. The national pest identification database confirmed the beetle's species Tuesday, authorities say.

“Intercepting destructive insect invaders at our nation’s borders, and before they can threaten our agriculture industries, is of paramount importance to Customs and Border Protection,” said Susan Stranieri, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia, in a press release.