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Customs officials find destructive bugs in taro shipment

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 11:00 a.m. HST, Mar 27, 2013

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists stationed at the Honolulu Airport intercepted a nest of destructive mealy bugs in a taro shipment arriving from Fiji.

Customs officials said the interception on March 14 is the first of its kind in the United States.

The mealy bugs were discovered during a routine examination of an air cargo shipment. The shipment was held until identification could be verified. The mealy bugs were identified as Paraputo aracearum Williams. This species is host-specific to taro and is only known to occur in Fiji. 

Hilda Montoya, assistant port director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Honolulu, said: “This is an example of the great work our agriculture specialists and officers do to protect the domestic agriculture industry from pests and diseases. This is one of the top priorities in our mission to protect the homeland and our economic security.”

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loquaciousone wrote:
Bring back Haleiwa Strained Poi.
on March 27,2013 | 11:09AM
cojef wrote:
Good job!
on March 27,2013 | 11:10AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Mealy Bugs SUCK. There are sprays at home improvement stores for them, but they are a pain.
on March 27,2013 | 11:20AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Why are we importing taro from Fiji or from anywhere? Can't local farmers grow enough to meet local demand?
on March 27,2013 | 05:16PM
Kapalua wrote:
I agree with your statement. We should not be importing taro from abroad when we have resources to cultivate it right here in Hawaii.
on March 27,2013 | 08:50PM
Anonymous wrote:
Yeah but, no can grow GMO taro which would increase the production of taro in Hawaii. THAT sucks!
on March 28,2013 | 08:11AM
copperwire9 wrote:
Good job, folks! Many thanks.
on March 28,2013 | 01:57AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Time to ban all taro imports. We have a blossoming industry here, let's support it!
on March 28,2013 | 06:14AM
hanalei395 wrote:
I doubt that the imported taro are for poi. I think it's for taro chips, that are now getting popular. Poi is only poi, from kalo, grown here.
on March 28,2013 | 07:27AM
konag43 wrote:
i am all for putt more custom officers on board to stop all the dangerous species from entering hawaii. good job
on March 28,2013 | 06:56PM
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