Destructive Khapra Beetle Found in Passengers’ Luggage at DC-Area Airports

(From The Washington Examiner)

Customs officials at Washington metropolitan region airports discovered the world’s “most destructive pest,” the Khapra beetle, in passenger luggage on two recent occasions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday.

The Department of Homeland Security’s agriculture specialists at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport found two live adult Khapra beetles, one dead immature larva, and several cast skins in two pounds of insect-infested cow peas during a standard inspection Feb. 23, which are prohibited from being brought into the country.

The Khapra beetle is highly destructive when added to stored grains, cereals, and seeds. It’s referred to by CBP as a “dirty feeder” because it ruins more grain than it eats. In addition, it contaminates grain simply by rubbing its hairs and body parts against it.

In 1953, a California outbreak forced officials to spend $11 million on clean-up efforts, which would be equivalent to $90 million if it happened today.

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