Costa Rica bug surprises U.S. inspectors

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Miami’s seaport intercepted an unusual pest identified as Hesus flaviventris Burmeister during an inspection of a container of pineapples from Costa Rica. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed that this marks the first interception of this pest in the United States.

The bug is a member of the family Aradidae, also known as flat bugs because of their extremely newbug090715flattened bodies.  Flat bugs are distant relatives of the more familiar stink bugs.

Although the bug was new to inspectors in Miami, the species is common in Central America. It has been collected in Panamá and Guatemala, according to online sources.

The damage caused by Hesus flaviventris Burmeister is not clearly defined in the scientific literature, but stink bugs cause damage to a host of commercial crops, including corn. The stink bug feeds on the leaves  and sometimes the fruit and causes spots that detract from the commercial value.

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