Miami - U. S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted the khapra beetle for the first time at Miami International Airport.
On October 13, CBP agriculture specialists at the Miami International Airport uncovered a bag of rice during a routine inspection of a passenger arriving from India. Upon closer inspection of the grains, officers found two larvae, one live and one dead which were later confirmed as being khapra beetles, an extremely destructive agricultural pest.
The khapra beetle is an exceedingly serious pest of grain as it has been nominated as one of the 100 worst invasive species worldwide. Its entrance into the agriculture of the United States can lead to serious consequences such as lower quality of product due to contamination and consumer health risks due to exposure to grain contaminated with insect parts. Moreover, severe infestations of khapra beetle can render grain unpalatable and unmarketable thus leading to loss of export markets which could be devastating to the U.S. economy.
CBP agriculture specialists immediately sent the specimens to the United States Department of Agriculture for pest identification. Once the specimens were identified as the khapra beetle, CBP agriculture specialists issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer and the bags were destroyed under CBP supervision.
"CBP agriculture specialists continually demonstrate their vigilance in intercepting extremely destructive pests that could cause significant damage to our agricultural and economic interests," said Vernon Foret, director of operations for the Miami field office.
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.