Los Angelus, California U.S. customs officials found some Khapra beetles, one of the world’s worst agricultural pests in a rice shipment that arrived at the LAX airport.
The rice was found in a box of food and personal effects being sent from one person to another, Mirza said.
The shipment was immediately quarantined and safeguarded and then destroyed under U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervision, Mirza said.
The Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium), which originated in South Asia, is one of the world’s most destructive pests of grain products and seeds. It is considered one of the 100 worst invasive species in the world. It is a pest of most stored grains and grain products but can also infest spices, gums, seeds, dried fruit and other dried plant and animal material. The larvae are responsible for most losses to stored products as adults feed very little. Khapra beetle is thought to have originated on the Indian sub-continent and the name is derived from the Indian word for brick, as the larvae can be found in the crevices between bricks in grain stores. Khapra beetle has a current distribution including South-East Asia, Africa, the Middle East and some European countries of the Mediterranean.
Agricultural specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection found an adult khapra beetle, eight larvae and a shed skin in a shipment of Indian rice from Saudi Arabia last week, spokesman Jaime Ruiz said.
Adult beetles are brownish and 2 to 3 millimetres long (08 -.12 inches). Immature larvae are up to 5 millimeters long and are covered in dense, reddish-brown hair. The eggs of the khapra beetle are cylindrical with one end more rounded and the other more pointed, about 0.7 mm long (.03 inches) and 0.25 mm (.98 inches) ( weighing about 0.02 mg(0000706 oz.). The pointy end has a number of spine-like projections. The eggs are initially a milky white but over several hours turn a pale yellowish color
The khapra beetle, which is native to India and not currently established in the United States, is considered one of the most destructive pests of grain products and seeds.
“It is endemic to several countries and the reason it is very dangerous is that its life cycle is very long and it goes into all kinds of food grains,” Naveeda Mirza, agriculture program manager for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told Reuters.
“It has several dormant stages. It can go dormant for a long time and then become active again. Its very very hard to get rid of and that’s why it’s very dangerous,” Mirza said. “It is one of the top 10 most dangerous pests not established here.” Discovered in the US in 1946, Known to infest warehouses and food processing plants and can infest any structure and prospers in pantries, closets, garages, laundry rooms, and basements where wheat, grain, cereal, barley and rice are stored. Khapra beetles thrive on pet food, grass seed, bird seed and in areas with large Pecan, Walnut, Acorn and other nut trees
Life Cycle and Habits of Khapra Beetle: Larva begin to feed as soon as they find food and will continue for a month. They will then pupate into adults and begin mating and laying eggs. The stages from Larva to adult usually last two to three months, though it is not uncommon to last three to four months. Khapra beetles multiply at an increased rate if food supplies are in abundant. In the average home, infestation is usually limited to a few rooms.
Khapra Beetle Control Measures: Discard any food item suspected of harboring larval or adults. Empty cabinets and treat with Neem herbal spray in all cracks and crevices where adults like to lay eggs. This spray will break the cycle by killing off emerging larva which will be hatching from eggs that have been laid undetected or hidden from view.
The khapra beetle can also survive for long periods of time without food and is resistant to insecticides and fumigants.
According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture website, in 1953 an extensive infestation of khapra beetle was found in California, prompting a massive eradication effort.
Earlier this year, border protection officials in Detroit found a khapra beetle in a shipment of tile from China.
Excerpts courtesy of http://yhoo.it/e2RRsg
Image (adult khapra beetle) courtesy of http://bit.ly/f7JqBa
Image (adult and larvae) courtesy of http://bit.ly/gJOTM9