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CBP Intercepts Highly Destructive Pest

Release Date: 
August 3, 2010

Houston - Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at Bush Intercontinental Airport discovered 10 live and four dead Khapra Beetle larvae in a bag of rice that a traveler was bringing to the United States.

The Khapra Beetle, considered one of the world's most destructive pests of grain products and seeds.

CBP officers at Bush Intercontinental Airport, in Houston, discovered 10 live and four dead Khapra Beetle larvae in a bag of rice that a traveler was from Saudi Arabia.

The traveler declared the rice, which he was bringing from Saudi Arabia. After discovering the insects, CBP agriculture specialists seized the bag of rice and forwarded the recovered specimens to U.S. Department of Agriculture for confirmation. The USDA national identifier confirmed the specimens to be Trogoderma granarium E., on July 27. The rice and its burlap container were destroyed.

"Our CBP agriculture specialists are experts in their profession," said Jeffrey O. Baldwin Sr., CBP Houston director of field operations. "Their ability to locate larvae that is less than 6 mm in length is remarkable and illustrates their commitment to protecting Texas agriculture from pests like the Khapra Beetle."

The Khapra Beetle, considered one of the world's most destructive pests of grain products and seeds, is a federal quarantine pest that is not known to occur in the United States. The Khapra Beetle has an insatiable appetite, can tolerate colder climates and can live in a dormant state for up to six years. The Khapra beetle is resilient and difficult to control because of its ability to tolerate insecticides and fumigants. If the Khapra Beetle became established in the United States, it would potentially cost millions to eradicate.

Since October 2009, the Houston Field Office has recorded six Khapra Beetle interceptions. The most recent interception occurred in April when agriculture specialists discovered live larvae and evidence of infestation in ship stores during an inspection of a vessel docked at the Port of Houston seaport.

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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. Laws.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017