U.S. Customs intercepts destructive insects

Oct 14, 2011
by WLJ

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted the khapra beetle again. This is their 10th khapra beetle intercept in the last 30 days at the port of New York/New Jersey.

On Sept. 20, CBP inspected a shipment manifested as bags of safflower seeds arriving from India to the Port of NY/NJ. They found one live and three dead larvae which were later confirmed as the khapra beetle, Trogoderma granarium Everts (Dermestidae), a very destructive agricultural pest.

“CBP agriculture specialists continually demonstrate their vigilance in intercepting these extremely destructive pests that could wreak significant damage to our agricultural and economic interests”, said Robert E. Perez, director of field operations, New York Field Office.

These pests were found by CBP on the bags of safflower seeds; specimens were sent as an urgent interception to USDA for identification after CBP closed the container for safeguarding. Once the specimens were identified as the khapra beetle, CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer. Due to the impermeable nature of the bags used for the safflower seeds, re-exportation or destruction of the product 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. — WLJ