U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices recently intercepted luggage containing a destructive pest at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. An agriculture specialist was inspecting the luggage from two passengers who had arrived from India. The specialist was inspecting a small bag of dried beans when he noticed a very small beetle larvae, slightly larger than a pinhead.
A sample of the larvae was sent to an entomologist where it was positively identified as a khapra beetle. This beetle is one of the world’s most destructive pests of stored seed and grain products. The beans were confiscated and destroyed to keep these pests from becoming established in our country.
If the khapra beetle were to become established in the U.S., their damage could result in tremendous economic losses for seed and grain producers because other countries would have to impose quarantine restrictions on exports of U.S. grain.
California first suffered an outbreak of the khapra beetle in 1953. It took years to eradicate this beetle and cost over $15 million to eradicate.
Termite Terry wants to remind everyone of how important it is to cooperate with authorities at U.S. Customs and our agriculture departments. If you ever want to bring agricultural items in from another state or country, always have them inspected, FIRST! Don’t try and sneak in these items because if they are infested with insects, you could single-handedly be creating a disaster for all of us.