ATLANTA— One of the world’s most destructive pests, the Khapra beetle, was found in a traveler’s luggage recently by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists working at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL).
CBP referred the traveler, a woman who arrived from Nepal on December 4, to a secondary examination after she declared food items. CBP agriculture specialists discovered the live beetle larva inside a bag of dry beans in her baggage.
CBP immediately quarantined the beans and submitted the specimen to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist for identification. The USDA entomologist identified the larva as Trogoderma granarium, commonly known as the Khapra beetle.
CBP seized and destroyed the beans by steam sterilization to prevent the introduction of the pest into the United States.
“Our best defense against destructive pests is to prevent their entry into the United States.” said Carey Davis, Area Port Director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Atlanta. “These interceptions demonstrate the need each day for our officers and agriculture specialists to exercise vigilance during our inspections of travelers and goods entering the United States.”
The Khapra beetle is described as one of the world’s most destructive pests of grain products and seeds. It is considered one of the 100 worst invasive species in the world. The U.S. does not currently have occurrences of Khapra beetle.
This interception is significant in that this is the first time that CBP has encountered Khapra beetle from Nepal.
Travelers must declare all fruit, vegetables, and other food products to a CBP agriculture specialist or a CBP officer, and present those food products for inspection – regardless of origin.
For more information on CBP, and how this border security agency helps to keep the United States safe, please visit www.cbp.gov.
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.