Invasive beetles discovered in shipment at Dulles

Khapra beetles. (Photo courtesy Customs and Border Protection)

One of the most invasive species of beetles was discovered at Dulles International Airport inside burlap bags of rice that arrived from Saudi Arabia.

Authorities intercepted 14 live and 10 dead Khapra beetles, considered one of the world’s most destructive insect pests. The beetles were discovered last Thursday in a shipment of personal effects.

“Khapra Beetle is one of the most destructive and invasive insects CBP agriculture specialists encounter, and we take our mission to intercept these dangerous pests very seriously,” said Christopher Hess, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. “Khapra Beetle poses significant threats to our nation’s agriculture, to our economy and to the health of our citizens.”

The beetles damage more grain than they consume and can contaminate grain with body parts and hair that can sicken humans.