Meet the Beetles: DFW Customs Agents Keep Finding "the World's Most Destructive Insect"

Gross. Khapra beetle larvae.
Gross. Khapra beetle larvae.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

The khapra beetle, considered the world's most destructive insect, has popped up in DFW luggage screens on five different occasions in recent months. In each instance, the beetle has been found in dried food a passenger was attempting to get past customs, despite not declaring the packages of rice, dried beans, coriander seeds or fava beans on customs forms. The packaged food originated in India and Sudan.

The beetles present a tremendous threat to the United States' food supply if they were to enter the country in large numbers. According to Customs and Border Patrol Port Director Cleatus Hunt, the "consume and contaminate stored grains like rice, wheat and oats.

Since 2013, U.S. Customs says it has intercepted Khapra beetles from passenger luggage more than 70 times. If it gets into the food supply, not only does it eat the grain, the beetle can also ruin the viability of seeds.

Each of the bugs, and its host material, was destroyed after interception.


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