Agriculture specialists at the Port of Chicago made a "first-in-nation pest discovery" when they intercepted an invasive beetle while inspecting a shipment of rhubarb stems from the Netherlands.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the discovery Tuesday after workers found the Redtenbacher beetle in a shipment of 10 rhubarb stems on Dec. 16.
Chicago Port Director Matthew Davies called it the "discovery and identification of a new potential threat to the U.S. agricultural industry."
Officials said beetles could pose a significant algricultural threat because they can cause damage by feeding on agricultural crops and native plants, lowering crop yields and quality.
The beetle was forwarded to an entimologist with the USDA's Animal and PLant Health Inspection Service- Plant Protection and Quarantine.
An emergency action notification was issued to the importer, who opted to treat the shipment, which was then treated and released.