Agriculture specialists at the Port of Chicago intercepted an invasive beetle while inspecting a shipment of rhubarb stems from the Netherlands, federal officials said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Tuesday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection workers found the Redtenbacher beetle on Dec. 16 in a shipment of ten boxes of rhubarb stems.
Chicago Port Director Matthew Davies said it was a “discovery and identification of a new potential threat to the U.S. agriculture industry.” Federal officials call it a “first-in-nation” discovery.
Beetles may threaten agriculture because they damage crops and native plants when they feed on them, which lowers yields and quality.
The beetle has been forwarded to an entomologist with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Plant Protection and Quarantine.
Customs and Border Patrol issued an emergency action notification to the importer. The importer treated the shipment, which was then released, federal officials said.