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A close one: beetle stowaways intercepted en route to Baltimore

cbp-stenhomalus1-082809.jpgU.S. Customs and Border Protection says it intercepted a Chinese shipment that contained Asian Longhorned Beetles bound for Baltimore. If you don’t know what these are, pray you don’t find out. These bad boys are seen as a pretty big threat to trees everywhere, and they’re not supposed to be here.

Typically, they get into the States in wooden packing materials, so that’s why the authorities were on the lookout. I can’t find any documentation that these things have actually shown their horrific faces in Maryland yet, but the Nature Conservancy says we’re ripe for the picking. And you thought the gypsy moths were bad…

So far, the worst infestations since the mid-1990s have been in Chicago and New York. There was one in Massachusetts too. The only way to get rid of these ugly fellas is to destroy the trees they’re living in. Apparently, CBP caught another beetle-infested shipment from China in 2005.