Border specialists intercept world’s most destructive pests at Port of Norfolk
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Port of Norfolk recently discovered dead larva and cast skins of the Khapra beetle in a shipment of rice from United Arab Emirates, the second time this invasive pest has been discovered at the port. The shipment was diverted to Norfolk from Newark due to hurricane Sandy.
The Khapra Beetle, Trogoderma granarium Everts, is considered one of the 100 most feared pests in the world. It is difficult to control once introduced into a region because it feeds on a variety of dried materials, is resistant to insecticides, and can go long periods without food. Infestations can result in up to 70 percent grain damage, making products inedible and unmarketable. On July 31, 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) restricted the importation of rice from countries known to have Khapra beetle due to an increasing number of detections at U.S. ports of entry of infested shipments of rice from these countries.
“The results of specialized training can be seen in this critical interception. Left undetected, this destructive pest could potentially cause grave damage to U.S. agricultural interests in Virginia and the nation,” said Mark Laria, area port director for the Port of Norfolk.
As of Nov. 16, there have been 220 Khapra Beetles interceptions at CBP ports of entry, as compared to 207 for all of calendar year 2011. The shipment of rice will be exported or destroyed.