CBP Intercepts Agriculture Pest at Sky Harbor International Airport
PHOENIX, ARIZ.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport discovered a pest which was recently confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium).
Agriculture specialists discovered the Khapra beetle in a burlap bag of rice from India. A passenger arriving from India declared the rice and was referred to agriculture secondary for further inspection. The insect larva was discovered at the bottom of the bag and was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for positive identification.
The Khapra beetle is native to India and has established itself in a number of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries. It has also been discovered in North America. In 2011, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted more than 100 beetles throughout the nation, compared to three to six per year in 2005 and 2006, and an average of 15 per year from 2007 to 2009.
Khapra beetles prefer hot, dry conditions and can be found in areas where grain and other potential food is stored, such as pantries, malt houses, grain and fodder processing plants, and stores of used grain sacks or crates.
This pest is a rarity to this region and is the first to be discovered at Sky Harbor or any Arizona port of entry.
Although the beetle may seem harmless, it is considered to be one of the world's most destructive pests of grain products and seeds. Infestation can cause extensive economic damage to the grain industry. Kharpa beetles are difficult to control because of their ability to live without food for an extensive period, and tolerance to many surface insecticides.
CBP agriculture specialists receive extensive training and are experienced in agricultural and biological inspections. Their historic mission of preventing the introduction of harmful plant pests into the United States provides CBP with the expertise to recognize and prevent the entry of organisms that could potentially devastate entire segments of the U.S. agriculture-related economy.
The CBP Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within the Department of Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation's ports of entry. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission, the inspection process at ports of entry result in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.
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.