Agents find 'dangerous' beetle

2011-01-06 08:22
Los Angeles - US customs officials said on Wednesday they had intercepted a shipment of rice at Los Angeles International Airport containing a beetle considered one of the world's most dangerous pests.

Agents found live adult and larvae of khapra beetle in a shipment of Indian rice arriving in a shipment of personal effects from Saudi Arabia last week, US Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Jaime Ruiz said in a written statement.

Entomologists from the US Department of Agriculture identified the insects as the khapra beetle, one of the world's most destructive pests of grain products and seeds.

Ruiz said established infections of the insect were difficult to control because of its ability to live without food for long periods of time and relative tolerance to surface insecticides and fumigants.

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

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