Beetle discovered in Norfolk cargo container is first of its kind in U.S.

Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-01 17:23:21-04

Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) - A pest never seen before in the U.S. was intercepted in a cargo container that came into the port last month.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Port of Norfolk discovered the Pityophthorus glabratus Eichhoff, more commonly referred to as a bark beetle, in wooden pallets on a shipment from Poland.

The intercepted bark beetle is part of a world-wide species that is notorious for living, feeding and reproducing in and under the bark of trees.

An infestation of the pests can kill otherwise healthy trees.

"If that kind of pest got out into the environment, it has the potential to create havoc with the forestry in the United States," Customs and Border Protection Chief Louis Rossero told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Tuesday.

According to a release, the forestry industry in the United States produces $200 billion in sales each year, with a countrywide employment of about one million workers.