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Cincinnati CBP Intercepts Destructive Stowaway Beetle in Food

Release Date: 
February 25, 2011

Cincinnati - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport intercepted one of the world's most destructive pests, the Khapra Beetle, coming into the U.S. from Bahrain.

Cincinnati CBP officers discovered Khapra Beetle hiding inside food products contained in a left over suitcase.

Cincinnati CBP officers discovered Khapra Beetle hiding inside food products contained in a left over suitcase.

The pest was intercepted earlier this month after CBP examined unclaimed baggage from an international flight arriving from Paris. The luggage originated in Bahrain and contained clothing, tea, grain and a bag of ground vegetables. CBP officers quickly identified a live insect in one of the bags and alerted a CBP agriculture specialist who identified the insect as the destructive Khapra Beetle. This was the first interception of its kind in passenger baggage at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

"Personal food products may appear to be harmless, however there could be hidden threats that could seriously harm our food supply, economy and your health," said David J. Murphy, CBP Director of Field Operations in Chicago. "These dedicated, highly trained and experienced officers and agriculture specialists are a critical part of CBP's layer approach to protecting our homeland, from apprehending criminals to interdicting drugs and pests."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Khapra Beetle is considered one of the worst invasive species worldwide because of its ability to tolerate insecticides, fumigants and ability to survive without food for long periods of time.

This pest has earned a reputation as a dirty feeder because it damages more grain than it consumes and contaminates it by leaving behind body parts and hairs, which make adults and especially infants sick with gastrointestinal irritation including severe vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.

CBP officers at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport inspect aircraft, passengers, luggage, and cargo from around the world for all types of contraband including damaging pests and illegal drugs, and enforce hundreds of federal, state, and local regulations for many different agencies.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017