The spring of 2013 seems to be the season of bugs.
Residents are being warned about a brood of cicadas about ready to burst forth from the ground and hibernating brown marmorated stinkbugs are beginning to stir.
But thanks to the diligence of Port of Baltimore inspectors, a new species of stinkbug has been intercepted.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists recently discovered the bug while inspecting a shipment of ceramic tile, according to a statement from Baltimore's Customs and Border Protection office.
Inspectors found the bug, a type of stinkbug known by the scientific name of Sciocoris sideritidis, while inspecting the shipment from Italy on April 8. The interloper was discovered after a container from a ship docked at the Seagirt Marine Terminal was taken to the Dundalk terminal for inspection, according to Robert Hunt, a program manager for Customs and Border Patrol.
It is the first time that particular type of stinkbug has been found in the country, according to the statement.
Stinkbugs pose a significant agriculture threat because they suck the juices out of plants, fruits and seeds, according to officials. They are capable of doing enough damage to significantly reduce a farmer's crop yield.
"CBP agriculture specialists take their job of detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests very seriously," Ricardo Scheller, Customs and Border Patrol director for the Port of Baltimore, said in the statement.
He credited the diligent work of agriculture specialists with finding a "new potential threat to the U.S. agriculture industry."
Once the intercepted bug was identified by a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist, the importer was told to either re-export the shipment or have it fumigated. The importer has chosen the fumigation option, according to the statement.