Customs officials said Wednesday they had intercepted one of the world’s most destructive grain and seed pests in a shipment of rice at Los Angeles International Airport.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jaime Ruiz said in a statement that agents discovered the khapra beetle in a shipment of Indian rice from Saudi Arabia last week.
Entomologists from the Department of Agriculture identified the live adult insects and larvae.
Ruiz said the khapra beetle is one of the world’s most dangerous pests because of its ability to survive for long periods of time without food and its tolerance to insecticides and fumigants.
The shipment was quarantined and destroyed under U.S. Customs and Border Patrol supervision, Ruiz added.