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U.S. Customs intercepts highly-destructive pest with insatiable appetite

Staff Writer |
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport discovered several dead Khapra Beetle cast skins and a live beetle larvae from the Coleoptera species.

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They were discovered in items a traveler was bringing into the U.S. A CBP agriculture specialist referred the traveler who was arriving from Sudan for a baggage exam.

During the exam, CBP agriculture specialists discovered the cast skins and the live larvae among hibiscus and chickpeas.

CBP agriculture specialists seized the items and forwarded the recovered specimens to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for confirmation.

The USDA national identifier confirmed the specimens to be Trogoderma granarium E., and Coleoptera on June 8.

“Our CBP agriculture specialists are experts in their profession,” said CBP Port Director Charles G. Perez.

“Their ability to locate larvae that is less than 6mm in length is remarkable and illustrates their commitment to protecting Texas agriculture from pests like the Khapra Beetle.”

The Khapra Beetle, considered to be one of the world’s most destructive pests of grain products and seeds, is a federal quarantine pest that is not known to occur in the United States.

The Khapra Beetle has an insatiable appetite, can tolerate colder climates and can live in a dormant state for up to six years.

The Khapra Beetle is resilient and difficult to control because of its ability to tolerate insecticides and fumigants, and if established in the United States would potentially cost millions to eradicate.

Since October 2016, the Houston Field Office has recorded 27 Khapra Beetle interceptions and ranks second after Chicago among Khapra Beetle interceptions nationwide.

On a typical day in fiscal year 2016, CBP agriculture specialists discovered 404 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,638 materials for quarantine: plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil.

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