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Destructive Moth Intercepted on U.S. Military Plane

Homeland security officials in Philadelphia say they’ve intercepted a destructive insect species that hitched a ride to the U.S. aboard a military plane.

Stephen Dalton, Getty Images

A statement released Thursday says agriculture specialists with Customs and Border Protection found noctuid moths among equipment returning from Afghanistan.

The moths are severe pests of fruit and vegetable crops as well as ornamental plant material. They were found May 24 aboard a plane that landed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. The cargo was quarantined, and the plane was decontaminated.

On May 30, a Department of Agriculture entomologist confirmed the insects as noctuid moths. The cargo was released June 1.

Homeland security officials say it’s the first documented interception in the area and fourth national interception of this insect.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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