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Khapra Beetle Larvae Detected in Rice

Staff Report – Lloyd Green Jr. | August 24, 2011 2:21 pm

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists Detect Insect During an Exa

The “Beetle Invasion Tour” was stopped prematurely by skilled and alert U. S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists recently at the Port of New York/Newark

On August 19, CBPAS inspected a shipment of rice arriving from Pakistan to the Port of NY/NJ. They found two dead larvae, which were later confirmed as the Khapra Beetle-Trogoderma granarium Everts (Dermestidae), a very destructive agricultural pest. This is the second occurrence of the Khapra Beetle being found at the Port of NY/NJ in a shipment of rice in the last month.

“CBP agriculture specialists have once again made a critical intercept of a destructive pest that could potentially cause grave damage to our agricultural and economical vitality,” said Robert E. Perez, director, field operations, New York field office.

This pest was found by CBPAS along the outside seams of these bags; the specimen was sent as an urgent interception to the USDA for identification after CBP closed the container for safeguarding. Once the specimens were identified as the Khapra Beetle Trogoderma granarium Everts (Dermestidae) CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer. Due to the physical status of the commodity and the packing material used for the importation (double-bagged in burlap and plastic) re-exportation or destruction are the only available options.

The Khapra Beetle is an extremely serious pest of grain and other stored products. This pest may also show up in a variety of locations that are not obvious food sources such as burlap bags, corrugated boxes (where they feed on the glue) and animal hides. Native to India, the Khapra beetle has spread to other countries in Africa, the Middle East, the Near East, pockets of Europe and Eastern Asia. It has been nominated as one of the 100 worst invasive species worldwide.

Earlier this year the U.S. Customs and Border Protection enforced a federal quarantine order that restricted the importation of rice in the U.S. from countries with known Khapra beetle infestations. This came about after the agency discovered an increasing number of detections at U.S. ports of entry of infested shipments of rice. Restrictions apply to all countries where Khapra beetle is known to occur, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

The Khapra beetle poses a serious threat to stored agricultural products, includes spices, grains and packaged foods. Infestation affects grain quality as well as quantity. Infestation of commodities with Khapra beetle can lead to the following consequences:

  • Economic loss of valuable grain or other domestic or export products
  • Lowered quality of products due to contamination
  • Costs associated with prevention and treatment
  • Consumer health risks when exposed to products contaminated with insect parts

In the U.S., infestation can result in the loss of export markets. If the Khapra beetle became established in the U.S., other countries would likely place restrictions on imports of U.S. grain, cereal products, or seed.

According to APHIS, previous detections of Khapra beetle have resulted in massive, long term-control and eradication efforts at great cost to the American taxpayer. Established infestations are difficult to control because the beetle can survive without food for long periods of time, requires little moisture, hides in tiny cracks and crevices, and is relatively resistant to many insecticides and fumigants.

This year, CBP agriculture specialists have made 100 Khapra beetle interceptions at U.S. ports of entry compared to three to six per year in 2005 and 2006, and averaging about 15 per year from 2007 to 2009.

To learn more information about the Khapra beetle visit:

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