Bugging Out: Feds Seize Rare Insect in Flower Shipment

"First of its kind" bug intercepted at the airport

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Usually the foreign specimens flying into Miami International Airport are either tourists or drugs, but U.S. Customs officials found a one-of-a-kind creepy crawler hitching a ride to the states earlier this month.

Graminella punctata, a rare type of leafhopper, has never been intercepted coming into the United States and most farmers and plants are happy that's the case.

The tiny insect is known to carry dangerous diseases for plants and spread the germs as they hop from plant to plant to feed.

On Sept. 10, customs agents found the insect in a shipment of Chrysanthemum cut flowers coming in from Colombia, where they are commonly found. Ironically, agents found eight pounds of cocaine in another flower shipment from Colombia.

Either way, both are bad news for local residents.

When agents sent the leafhopper specimen off for analysis, bug experts confirmed it was an insect never before seen in the U.S.

Kudos to the MIA crew, who seems to be on a roll when it comes to finding troublesome critters. Last month, Miami Customs agents found a leaf beetle that had never been intercepted in the U.S.

It had bummed a ride on a shipment of coconuts from the Dominican Republic.

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