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Philadelphia CBP Finds Destructive Pest in Passenger Baggage

Release Date: 
November 19, 2014

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists at Philadelphia International Airport discovered live Khapra Beetle in passenger baggage twice during September. The specimens were forwarded to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist who confirmed them as Trogoderma granarium, commonly known as Khapra Beetle, on October 30. 

The Khapra Beetle is considered one of the world’s most destructive insect pests of grains, cereals and stored foods and remains the only insect in which CBP takes regulatory action against even while in a dead state.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted Khapra Beetle, one of the world's most destructive insect pests, twice during September at Philadelphia International Airport.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted Khapra Beetle, one of the world's most destructive insect pests, twice during September at Philadelphia International Airport.

“Khapra Beetle is one of the most invasive insects CBP agriculture specialists encounter,” said Paul Nardella CBP Assistant Port Director for the Port of Philadelphia. “And we take our mission to intercept these destructive pests and protecting America’s agricultural industry very seriously.”

In both instances the insects were discovered in dried goods carried by passengers from Sudan via Qatar.

On September 3, CBP agriculture specialists inspected a bag of fava beans that were found to be infested with Khapra Beetle larvae.

On September 10, CBP agriculture specialists inspected a bag of acacia seeds that were found to be infested with one adult Khapra Beetle and one larva.

In both cases, CBP forwarded specimens to a USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) entomologist for identification. Both the fava beans and acacia seeds were subsequently destroyed by incineration.

The Khapra Beetle is labeled a ‘dirty feeder’ because it damages more grain than it consumes, and because it contaminates grain with body parts and hairs. These contaminants may cause gastrointestinal irritation in adults and especially sickens infants. Khapra Beetles can also tolerate insecticides and fumigants, and can survive for long periods of time without food.

According to APHIS, previous infestations of Khapra Beetle have resulted in massive, long term-control and eradication efforts at great cost to the American taxpayer.

California implemented extensive eradication measures following a Khapra Beetle infestation discovered there in 1953. The effort was deemed successful, but at a cost of approximately $11 million. Calculated in today’s dollars, that would be about $90 million.

Related information:

USDA Restricts the Importation of Commercial and Noncommercial Quantities of Rice from Countries Where Khapra Beetle Is Known to Occur

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day nationally, they inspect almost 1 million people as well as air and sea cargo imported to the United States and intercept 4,379 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 440 insect pests.

Visit CBP's agriculture webpage to learn how CBP conducts its agriculture protection mission, please visit . 

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017