Indianapolis - They are tiny, hairy, ugly bugs and if digested will cause vomiting and diarrhea. They are hard to kill, will eat just about anything and thrive anywhere, especially in grain elevators, warehouses or home pantries. The Khapra Beetle, Trogoderma granarium Everts, is one of the top 100 most feared pests in the world because of its destruction to agriculture and potential to damage an entire economy. It is considered a global destroyer.
Recently, Indianapolis U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at the FedEx express consignment facility found Khapra Beetles within a small plastic bag of barley seeds from India.
"If a Khapra Beetle is hiding in a huge container full of grain coming from an infested overseas warehouse or within a small personal parcel, we'll find it," said Carl Ambroson, Acting CBP Director of Field Operations in Chicago. "Everyday our CBP agriculture specialists sweep container floors, probe shipments and examine samples using every microscopic tool available. We guard against agro terrorism and bioterrorism while safeguarding agricultural resources from destructive pests and diseases."
In this case, CBP officers identified a parcel containing personal effects coming from India for an x-ray and inspection by agriculture specialists. As a result, two live immature Khapra Beetles were found within a bag of barley seeds and confirmed on July 11. The shipment was en route to an individual in North Carolina. The bag of barley seeds was destroyed and the remaining shipment containing the personal effects was re-exported back to the shipper in India.
For identification purposes, pests are sent to U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Protection and Quarantine entomologists and to the Systematic Entomology Laboratory, USDA in Washington, D.C.
The Khapra Beetle originated in South Asia and is now present throughout much of northern Africa and the Middle East, with a limited presence in Asia, Europe, and southern Africa.