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Published April 30, 2010, 09:36 AM

Customs stops crop-eating bugs at Dulles

CHANTILLY, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they have stopped crop-eating bugs from hitchhiking into the country on flowers coming through Dulles Inter-national Airport.

CHANTILLY, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they have stopped crop-eating bugs from hitchhiking into the country on flowers coming through Dulles Inter-national Airport.

A spokesman says the insects were found on 200 cut stem Calla lilies from Kenya and the Netherlands on April 20. Officials say they were destroyed by steam sterilization within days.

The winged insect, which looks to the untrained eye like a cockroaches, is not known to be in the United States.

Washington Customs and Border Patrol Port Director Christopher Hess says insects in the Miridae family have voracious appetites and could cause serious harm to cultivated plants in the United States. He says the introduction of the insect could have profound impact on American agricultural industries.

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