Oakland, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered a destructive pest while inspecting a shipment of organic brown rice at the Oakland, Calif. seaport last Thursday. U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel identified the live specimen samples as adult-stage Khapra beetles (Trogoderma granarium).
According to the USDA, the Khapra beetle, considered one of the world's most destructive pests of grain products and seeds, is native to India. It is a federal quarantine pest and was temporarily established in this country until its eradication in 1966. This pest thrives in warm, dry climates, and it can survive for several years with little food, often hiding in cracks and crevices.
The Khapra beetle can cause significant weight loss -- between 5 and 30 percent, with extreme cases of 70 percent -- in stored grain when left undisturbed. The damage also may lead to significant reduction in seed viability, and severe infestations may cause unfavorable changes in chemical composition. Additionally, the beetle can damage dry commodities of animal origin.
"CBP places a very high priority on our agriculture inspection program," said San Francisco Director of Field Operations Richard Vigna. "This significant pest interception illustrates the vital role played by CBP agriculture specialists in protecting America's agricultural economic interests."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.