Inspectors find mystery pest at Port of Gulfport

Published 9:23 pm Friday, April 10, 2009

Customs and Border Protection officials recently found a potentially destructive pest in a shipment of organic bananas at the Port of Gulfport believed to be previously unseen in the United States.

The fuzzy, wormlike creature from Colombia was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for identification. Experts identified the insect as Faustinus rhombifer Champion (Curculionidae), part of a species that feeds on a variety of plants.

Officials would not name the companies that grew and shipped the bananas, but sent the entire load back to Colombia.

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The CBP’s Virginia Dabbs said inspectors often find pests, but this one was significant because it hasn’t previously been reported in the U.S.