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CBP Agriculture Specialists Discover Khapra Beetles at Dublin Preclearance

Release Date: 
December 31, 2015

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Dublin Preclearance Facility intercepted a large quantity of live larvae, live adults, and shed casings of Khapra Beetles from a plastic bag of chick peas and peanut mix. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at the Plant Inspection Station (PIS) at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York positively identified the specimens as Trogoderma granarium, commonly known as Khapra Beetle. This is the first time that Khapra Beetles have been intercepted at the Port of Dublin.

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

Trogoderma granarium, commonly known as Khapra Beetle

On November 25, 2015, agriculture specialists discovered the Khapra Beetle in a bag of dried chick peas and peanuts concealed in a traveler’s checked luggage originating from India with a final destination of Boston.

“The discovery of the Khapra Beetle in Dublin Preclearance further highlights the benefits of intercepting pests before they enter the United States,” said Port Director Patricia Lagerwey. “Thanks to the diligence of the CBP Agriculture Specialists during the inspection of the passenger luggage these pests were stopped before ever leaving Ireland.”

On November 25, 2015, agriculture specialists discovered the insects in a bag of dried chick peas and peanuts concealed in a traveler’s checked luggage originating from India with a final destination of Boston.  The traveler failed to declare the agriculture items multiple times to the CBP Agriculture Specialist. CBP seized the goods and forwarded the specimens to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – New York PIS for identification. On December 16, 2015, the specimens were positively identified as Khapra Beetles. The seized items were destroyed by incineration. 

The Khapra Beetle is labeled a ‘dirty feeder’ because it damages more grain than it consumes, while contaminating grain with body parts and hairs. These contaminants may cause gastrointestinal irritation in adults and especially sickens infants. Khapra Beetle 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 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—$90 million in today’s dollars.

CBP agriculture specialists receive extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, 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 nationwide.

To learn more about CBP’s agriculture protection mission, visit Protecting Agriculture on the CBP website.

CBP Preclearance operations allow for advance inspection of passengers and special coordination with law enforcement upon arrival in the United States. Through preclearance, the same immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections of international air passengers performed on arrival in the United States are instead completed before departure at foreign airports.  Currently, preclearance operations exist at 15 foreign airports in six different countries, benefitting air passengers, airports, and air carriers, in the United States and abroad.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017