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Dangerous Beetle Found At LAX

January 6, 2011

An imported shipment of rice was intercepted at Los Angeles International Airport that contained one of the world’s most destructive grain and seed pests, US Customs officials said Wednesday.

US Customs and Border Protection said the so-called Khapra beetle was discovered last week in a shipment of Indian rice arriving from Saudi Arabia. The shipment was quarantined and destroyed.

Entomologists from the Department of Agriculture identified the pests as Khapra beetles, which are among the most destructive insects of grains and seeds.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jaime Ruiz told MSNBC in a written statement that established infections of the insect were difficult to control because of the beetle’s ability to live without food for long periods of time and also its high tolerance to insecticides and fumigants.

The shipment was quarantined and safeguarded according to USDA guidelines, Ruiz said, and destroyed under US Customs and Border Patrol supervision.

Image Caption: Adult, larva, and larval skins of the khapra beetle, Trogoderma granarium Everts, and the damage caused by the larvae. Credit: Anne-Sophie Roy, European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization; www.invasive.org

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