Grain Pest Intercepted at LA Airport
U.S. customs officials say they intercepted one of the world's most destructive agricultural pests during an inspection at Los Angeles International Airport.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says inspectors discovered the pest, known as the khapra beetle, in a bag of Indian rice on a flight from Saudi Arabia Dec. 29, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
The bag, being brought in by a passenger, was confiscated and destroyed.
The khapra beetle, a grain and seed pest, is particularly dangerous because it is tolerant to many insecticides, officials said.
"They're good at hiding and they multiply," Naveeda Mirza, the inspection agency's agriculture program manager, said. "Before you know it, half of your grain is gone."
California spent millions of dollars in the 1960s to eradicate an infestation of khapra beetles in the state, Mirza said.
Mirza urged international travelers to avoid packing food.
"Chocolate, candy, maybe that's OK," she said. "But beans and rice that you're bringing for your own consumption, it's better to just buy it here."
Source = Science News
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