One Of ‘Most Destructive’ Pests Intercepted In Atlanta

March 22nd, 2011

Destructive Khapra Beetle Pest Intercepted at Atlanta Airport

ATLANTA  – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport recently intercepted a destructive pest in the luggage of two international passengers arriving from India.

CBP agriculture specialists inspecting a small bag of dried beans noticed a very small beetle larva slightly larger than a pinhead. The captured larva was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for identification.

Entomologists confirmed the insect was the khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium), one of the world’s most destructive pests of stored seed and grain products. CBP agriculture specialists confiscated and destroyed the beans to prevent the insect from entering the country.

CBP agriculture specialists protect American agriculture and the food supply by preventing harmful pests, plant and animal diseases, and biological threats from entering the country. “Discovering this significant pest and stopping it from entering the country further emphasizes the importance of our mission” said Parris Hawkins, CBP Chief of Agriculture.

An outbreak of khapra beetle in the U.S. could cost tax-payers millions in clean-up efforts. If the khapra beetle became established in the country, the damage could lead to tremendous economic losses to seed and grain producers since other countries would likely impose quarantine restrictions on contaminated exports of U.S. grain. The first outbreak of the beetle occurred in California in 1953 and led to years of eradication, costing an estimated $15 million to clean up.

“We can best prevent the economic impact to our agriculture producers and taxpayers by the joint effort with CBP to stop these pests from ever entering the country,” said Carlos Perez with the USDA.

The last khapra beetle interception at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport occurred in 2006.

Atlanta Pest Control Services

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