Los Angeles - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport intercepted live adult and larvae of khapra beetle in a shipment of Indian rice arriving from Saudi Arabia.
On Dec. 29, CBP agriculture specialists discovered the insect pests while conducting an inspection of a shipment of personal effects. The next day, entomologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture identified the insects as Trogoderma granarium Evert (Dermestidae), also known as khapra beetle, and confirmed that the specimens were a pest not established in the U.S.
The khapra beetle is one of the world's most destructive pests of grain products and seeds. Established infestations are difficult to control because of the beetle's ability to live without food for long periods of time and survive on foods of low moisture content, combined with its relative tolerance to many surface insecticides and fumigants.
"This discovery attests LAX CBP agriculture specialists' expertise in detecting and preventing harmful pests from being introduced into the United States," said Carlos Martel, CBP's acting director of field operations in Los Angeles. "They play a critical role in safeguarding the U.S. agriculture industry and the nation's economy."
The shipment was quarantined and safeguarded according to USDA guidelines. An Emergency Action Notification was issued and the shipment was destroyed under CBP supervision.
In fiscal year 2009, agriculture specialists seized more than 1.5 million prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 166,727 agricultural pests at ports of entry.
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.