Customs Officials Discover Destructive Beetle Larva

NEWARK – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists discovered Khapra Beetle larva while inspecting a ship’s cargo at the port in Elizabeth last month, officials announced Wednesday.

The Khapra Beetle is one of the world’s most destructive pests of grain products and seeds. Established infestations are difficult to control because of the beetle’s ability to live without food for long periods of time and survive on foods of low moisture content, combined with its relative tolerance to many surface insecticides and fumigants.


During a Feb. 15 inspection of the vessel’s dry provisions stores, a small unlabeled plastic bag of dried black beans was found to contain signs of infestation.  An adult insect, casts, and several live larvae were found inside the bag, officials said.  A sample was collected and sent to U. S. Department of Agriculture entomologists for final determination.  USDA identified the sample as Trogoderma granarium.

“This is just the latest example of meticulous attention to detail and dedication to duty by our Agriculture Specialists,” said Robert E. Perez, Director of Field Operations for the New York Field Office.  “The continued vigilance of our agriculture specialists has ensured that these dangerous pests do not end up in our nation’s crops.”

Treatment in accordance with USDA standards must be performed on the vessel before the vessel can return to a U.S. port. At that time a customs official will board the vessel, upon arrival in the U.S., and proof of treatment must be made available.

In fiscal year 2009, agriculture specialists seized more than 1.5 million prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 166,727 agricultural pests at ports of entry.

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