LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Customs officials say they have detected a destructive pest from Spain in a cargo shipment of orange bell peppers at Los Angeles International Airport.

Federal customs spokeswoman Lee Harty says a Leafhopper was found during a cargo shipment inspection on Dec. 8.

The insects are notorious for hopping very quickly. Leafhoppers feed on the sap oozed from above-ground stems and leaves.

Harty says they are serious crop pests that can transmit plant illnesses and can potentially cause economic and environmental damage to crops.

Harty says it was the first time the pest was detected in the United States and federal agriculture officials authorized an emergency notice to fumigate the shipment.

Copyright 2011 The AP.

Recommended for you