US customs finds unwanted pests, plants at Miami ports

MIAMI (AP) — Federal customs officials are regularly intercepting unwanted pests and invasive plants at Miami’s airport and seaport, including insects never before spotted in the U.S.

In June, Customs and Border Protection inspectors found a so-called “click” beetle in a shipment of ginger from Ecuador. The beetle — named for the distinctive sound it makes — produces larvae that can be harmful to agriculture by eating plant roots.

Earlier this month, CBP discovered an insect known as a “squash bug” commonly found in Ecuador and Peru in a shipment of South American cut flowers. Although this insect’s threat to agriculture isn’t known, officials say it previously had not been spotted in this country.

At the airport on July 9, CBP identified about 200 seeds of a noxious aquatic plant that chokes waterways.

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