Oakland, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered signs of a destructive pest while inspecting a shipment of rice at the Oakland seaport last month. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) personnel identified the dead specimen samples as one adult-stage and two juvenile stage Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium). The entire shipment will be re-exported, due to the major pest risk it poses.
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 one of the top 100 most harmful pests in the world. This pest thrives in warm, dry climates. It can survive for several years with little food, often hiding in cracks and crevices.
The Khapra beetle can cause significant weight loss (between 5-30%, extreme cases of 70%) in stored grain when left undisturbed. Damage also may lead to significant reduction in seed viability. 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.