Customs officials say they intercepted one of the world’s most destructive grain and seed pests during an inspection at Los Angeles International Airport.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection say inspectors discovered a bug known as the khapra beetle last week in a bag of Indian rice that a passenger was bringing from Saudi Arabia on a Dec. 29 flight. The bag was destroyed.
The khapra beetle is dangerous, officials say, because it feeds on grain and is tolerant to many insecticides.
“They’re good at hiding and they multiply,” said Naveeda Mirza, the inspection agency’s agriculture program manager. “Before you know it, half of your grain is gone.”
In the 1960s, the state of California spent millions of dollars to eradicate a khapra beetle infestation in the state, Mirza said.
Full story: Destructive beetle found in rice shipment at LAX