Feds seize containers of invasive khapra beetle larvae at Va. port

An anatomically correct model of a Khapra Beetle. (Photo: Flickr/fotenx)

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Two shipping containers seized by federal authorities at the Port of Virginia contained live larvae of an invasive species of beetle.

Acting on a tip, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted the containers last week. The agency said Thursday that the containers originated in India and held hundreds of sacks of safflower seeds contaminated with the larvae and cast skins of the khapra beetle.

Customs spokesman Louis Rossero in Norfolk said both containers will be fumigated and sent back to India.

According to the Daily Press, the pest was eradicated from the United States in the 1950s and 1960s but has recently started showing up in the nation's seaports. Last week's seizure marked the first time the pest has been discovered in Hampton Roads.