Xylotrechus rufilius, a type of longhorn beetle
(Handout photo courtesy U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

A beetle species native to Asia and considered a threat to U.S. forests was discovered in the Baltimore region for the first time last month, during an inspection of a Chinese shipping container at the port of Baltimore.

The "longhorn" beetle species, known scientifically as Xylotrechus rufilius, is known to attack a wide range of orchard, forest and landscaping trees by boring holes in their trunks, eventually killing them, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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A USDA entomologist identified the beetle last week. It was first spotted on Halloween in a container of ceramic tiles from China at the Baltimore Centralized Examination Station near the port by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector.

"CBP agriculture specialists are very good at detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests," said Dianna Bowman, the agency's Baltimore port director, in a statement.

The tile shipment was bound for Eldersburg, but will instead be "re-exported" given the discovery of the beetle, the agency said.

Across the country, CBP inspectors intercept about 440 insect pests a day, the agency said.

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