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CBP agriculture specialists capture Khapra Beetles in Houston

Khapra beetles are known to be one of the top 100 worst invasive species in the world. Their introduction to the U.S. agriculture would be devastating, CBP said.
Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection had a busy day at the end of August at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Four travelers from Sudan, India and Turkey had suspicious insects hidden among their belongings. Dry fava beans, dry coriander seeds, and dried dates were the unknown culprits carrying live, dead, and cast skin remains of a pest which appeared eerily similar to the Khapra beetle, CBP officials said.

Khapra beetles are known to be one of the top 100 worst invasive species in the world. They are able to live without food for long periods of time and are resistant to many types of insecticides. They feed on grain and cereal but can eat many other products to survive. Their introduction to the U.S. agriculture would be devastating, CBP said in a release.

“CBP agriculture specialists are well trained and work diligently to prevent this type of pest from entering the U.S. agriculture system,” said Houston Area Port Director Raymond S. Polley. “Protecting our nation’s agriculture industry is vital and I am proud of the work the CBP agriculture specialists do day in and day out.”

All suspected Khapra beetles and cast skins were submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Entomologist for identification, which confirmed that they were the dangerous insects. All remaining pests were destroyed by steam sterilization.

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