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Destructive insects intercepted at LAX

July 23, 2010 |  1:53 pm

Insects with the potential to devastate crops were discovered in a shipment of fresh-cut flowers at LAX and destroyed by U.S. Customs inspectors.

The tiny pests from South Africa had never been seen before in the United States, authorities said. The discovery was made last week.

Federal officials said the rust-colored aphids were identified by the Department of Agriculture as Toxoptera odinae (Van der Goot) from sub-Saharan Africa.

The aphid is known to attack grains, fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants.

-- Richard Winton