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CBP Agriculture Specialists Discover Multiple Khapra Beetles at Toronto Preclearance

Release Date: 
August 24, 2015

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted a large quantity of live larvae, live adults, and shed casings of Khapra Beetles from a plastic bag of dried beans at the Toronto Preclearance Facility at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at the Plant Inspection Station (PIS) in Boston 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 Toronto Preclearance Facility.

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.

Image of a Khapra Beetle

Trogoderma granarium, commonly known as Khapra Beetle

“This interception further solidifies the benefits of Preclearance locations where CBP can stop threats prior to reaching the United States,” said Assistant Port Director Robert Maimbourg. “The Khapra Beetle is one of the most destructive pests and thanks to the vigilance of our CBP agriculture specialists it did not make it to the U.S.”

The agriculture specialists discovered the insects in a 4.4 pound bag of dried beans in a traveler’s checked luggage originating from Somalia with a final destination of Atlanta.  CBP seized the dried beans and forwarded the specimens to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Boston PIS for identification. The seized items were turned over to the Canada Border Services Agency for destruction 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 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.

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