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CBP at Newark Intercepts Khapra Beetle in Rice

Release Date: 
June 1, 2017

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists Detect insect during Commercial Cargo Exam

NEWARK, N.J. — These pests could wreak havoc on the United States economy, fortunately U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists at Newark Liberty International Airport stopped these intruders dead in their tracks.

On May 19, CBP Agriculture Specialists inspected a shipment labeled “foodstuff and rice” from Bangladesh and discovered one live larva of what appeared to be Khapra Beetle inside the seam of the rice bags.  The pest interception was submitted to the local USDA Plant Inspection Station, which positively identified it as Khapra Beetle.

On May 26, while inspecting a second shipment labeled “foodstuff and rice” from Bangladesh, CBP Agriculture Specialists discovered two dead larvae inside the rice bags.  The specimens were later positively identified as Khapra Beetle.

In both cases the broker was given the options of re-exporting the shipment back to the country of origin, or destroying the entire shipment to prevent the dissemination of Khapra Beetle into the United States.

“CBP Agriculture Specialists made two critical interceptions of a destructive pest that could potentially cause grave damage to our agricultural and economic vitality,” said Leon Hayward, Acting Director, Field Operations, New York Field Office.

Trogoderma granarium Everts (Khapra Beetle) is one of world’s most destructive pests of grain products and seeds.  This pest may also show up in a variety of locations that are not obvious food sources such as burlap bags, corrugated boxes (where they feed on the glue) and animal hides.  Native to India, Khapra Beetle has spread to other countries in Africa, the Middle East, the Near East, pockets of Europe and Eastern Asia.  Infestations are difficult to control because of the insect's ability to survive without food for long periods, its preference for dry conditions and low-moisture food, and its resistance to many insecticides.  It has been described as one of the 100 worst invasive species worldwide.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021