The Swede midge, an invasive insect found in Farmington damages members of the brassica vegetable family. Seen is an affected Brussels sprout plant. Dave Fuller/UMaine Cooperative Extension

AUGUSTA — Agriculture authorities in Maine say an invasive pest that can damage crops such as cabbage and broccoli has been found in the state for the first time.

The pest is an insect called the Swede midge. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says Monday the UMaine Cooperative Extension made the discovery and it’s the first confirmed appearance of the midge in Maine.

The department calls the midge a “serious insect pest” because its larvae feed on the growing tips of plants and disfigure them or prevent their proper growth. It says there have been reports of broccoli damage in some parts of the state stemming from the pest.

The Swede midge’s native to Europe and Asia and was first found in the U.S. in New York in 2004.

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