U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently intercepted one of the world’s most destructive pests of grain products and seeds in a shipment of soybeans arriving from India into the Port of Charleston, S.C.
Considered by many to be one of the top 100 worst invasive species worldwide and currently found in approximately 25 countries, the Khapra Beetle is a voracious feeder. If allowed to become established in the U.S., it is believed that the Khapra Beetle would cause wide-reaching economic impact, negative environmental impact due to increased use of fumigants and increased health risks to consumers.
“This significant pest interception demonstrates how very seriously CBP agriculture specialists take their job of protecting America’s agriculture industry through the detection of foreign evasive plant pests” said Joanne Fogg, CBP acting port director for the area Port of Charleston.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists inspected an import shipment of five containers with 2,100 bags of soybeans from India. Inspection revealed multiple insect life stages of beetles which were immediately submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for final identification.
On July 26, the USDA confirmed that the larvae (approximately 1.6 to 1.8 mm long) were, in fact, Trogoderma granarium Everts, commonly referred to as Khapra Beetle. Due to the manner in which the bags were loaded and the type of bagging material used, the USDA and CBP agreed that refusing entry to the shipment was the best option. As a result, the infested shipment will be returned to India.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences, risk analysis and agriculture import inspection techniques. They are considered to be the first line of defense in the protection of the agriculture, forest and livestock industries from exotic destructive plant pests and animal diseases.
Currently, invasive species cause an estimated $136 billion in lost agriculture revenue annually. Each day CBP prevents harmful elements like the Khapra Beetle from entering the U.S. at more than 300 ports of entry.