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Officials intercept destructive beetle on Costa Rica pineapples

July 29, 2011 |  2:35 pm

U.S. customs officials Friday said an inspection of a shipment of pineapples from Costa Rica uncovered a hitchhiker -– a destructive wood-boring beetle.

The recent find of the live cerambycidae -– a type of long-horned beetle -- at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport was the first of its kind in California, officials said. The last time customs intercepted one was in 1999 in Miami.

The larvae of the beetle consumes wood, sap and other plant fluids and is a threat to U.S. forests, where it is an invasive species.

"The potential for such pests to create both environmental and economic havoc is astonishing," customs official Todd Owen said in a statement.

It was the second time in recent weeks that an invasive beetle was found on Los Angeles' doorstep.

Last month, port officials found an invasive species of beetle that destroys fruit, seeds and cotton in a shipment of fresh flowers. It also came from Costa Rica.

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-- Mike Anton

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