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By Rady Ananda

The Khapra beetle, “one of the top 100 most-feared pests in the world,” according to Customs and Border Protection, keeps showing up this year, with over 100 finds in personal belongings and commercial imports.  Normally, ag inspectors find the beetle only 3-6 times a year.  [Image]

Trogoderma granarium is incredibly destructive to several crops and resistant to pesticides and fumigants.  It can destroy the agriculture economy, which is a third of the entire US economy, already weakened by Wall Street crimes.

The latest find was in a personal bag of rice at the Chicago O’Hare Airport arriving from India.

In July, USDA banned non-commercial amounts of rice and now requires inspection of all rice imported from nations known to host the beetle:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates.

The High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal reports that, this year, “CBP agriculture specialists have made 100 Khapra beetle interceptions at U.S. ports of entry compared to three to six per year in 2005 and 2006, and averaging about 15 per year from 2007 to 2009.”

In July, Michigan inspectors found the beetle in a shipment of chickpeas from India. “The Khapra beetle, if not interdicted, could wipe out soybean, wheat and corn crops,” Kenneth Hammond, chief of cargo operations of the Fort Streetcenter, told Detroit News.

In June, Detroit also found the beetle in a shipment of tile from China.

In January, Los Angeles International Airport Customs agents found the Khapra beetle in a bag of rice that arrived from Saudi Arabia, which was apparently purchased in India.

Earlier this month, Baltimore inspectors found the dreaded beetle in two separate marine shipments of basmati rice from Pakistan.

Too little too late, in August, India agreed to certify rice exports to the U.S. as being free of the Kharpa beetle.  Oryza reports that in addition to auditing inspections and vacuum cleaning containers, India will no longer use burlap bags for packing rice headed for the U.S.

US Customs advises that:

“Previous CBP Kharpa Beetle interceptions at O’Hare include beetles in a personal supply of bulgur wheat earlier this month; the rejection of a container of tapioca powder because of Kharpa Bettle contamination in June; and in January, dead beetle larva found in a container filled with 50 pound sacks of rice and beans from India.”

The Khapra beetle first invaded Californiain 1953 and was not eradicated until 1966,” reports Yahoo News.

In 1998, 2000, and again in 2007, researchers showed that the Khapra beetle has developed a resistance to common pesticides, including phosphine (hydrogen phosphide, PH3), a common fumigant.

Rady Ananda specializes in Natural Resources and runs the sites, Food Freedom and COTO Report.

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