Customs Officials Catch Invasive Insect In Rice Shipment

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NEWARK — On Tuesday, Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Port of New York/Newark found an invasive insect in a shipment of rice coming from Pakistan. The U.S. Department of Agriculture identified the pest as a Khapra beetle, considered one of the 100 worst invasive species worldwide.

Customs officials found one cast skin and one dead larva on the exterior of a polyurethane bag filled with rice. The Khapra beetle is an extremely serious pest of grain and other stored products. This pest may also show up in a variety of locations that are not obvious food sources such as burlap bags, corrugated boxes (where they feed on the glue) and animal hides. Native to India, Khapra beetle has spread to other countries in Africa, the Middle East, the Near East, pockets of Europe and Eastern Asia.

“This is just another example of meticulous attention to detail and dedication to duty by our agriculture specialists,” said Robert E. Perez, director, field operations, 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.”


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