Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
News Opinion

Customs agents seize exotic fruit containing pest at BWI

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted a type of mealybug pest in an exotic fruit at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, federal officials said Monday.

The bug, formally known as Maconellicoccus multipori, could have posed a "significant agriculture threat" as it feeds on the juices of greenhouse plants, house plants and subtropical trees, Robert D. Hunt, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman, said in a statement.

The mealybug was found inside a cherimoya fruit brought by someone traveling from India in December 2012. A U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist confirmed the pest this week. Other cherimoya fruits found on the passenger were seized and burned.

Mealybugs can also be a "vector" for plant disease and an infestation can damage crop yields, Hunt said. Cherimoya fruit is commonly known as the "ice cream fruit" and originates in the Andes mountains.

Nationally, customs officials typically seize about 476 insect pests a year, Hunt said.

cwells@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cwellssun

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Safety or revenue?
    Safety or revenue?

    Before it was shut down over reports of widespread errors, Baltimore ran by far the largest speed camera program in the state and one of the largest in the nation. It generated a lot of tickets and a lot of revenue for the city — so much so that officials were fighting over what to do...

  • Tragedy in New York
    Tragedy in New York

    For Marylanders, the execution-style killings of two New York City police officers on Saturday in Brooklyn was horrifying and despicable, but the possibility that the shooter had a local connection — Ismaaiyl Brinsley had allegedly shot a woman in Owings Mills before killing officers...

  • Cyber security
  • No superheroes in 'The Interview' capitulation
    No superheroes in 'The Interview' capitulation

    The first issue of Captain America came out on Dec. 20, 1940. It shows Cap slugging Adolph Hitler in the mouth.

  • Fighting violence's hidden effects
    Fighting violence's hidden effects

    No child should have to witness a neighbor gunned down in the street or the beating of a parent or caregiver. Such experiences not only are disturbing when they occur, they also can leave deep emotional and psychological scars that affect children's mental and physical health for years...

  • 2016 voters may choose between two dynasties
    2016 voters may choose between two dynasties

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's candid interest in seeking the presidency in 2016 raises skepticism about whether the voters would vote for a third Bush in the Oval Office.

Comments
Loading