Destructive beetle busted at the border

LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB) — When you think about busts at the border, drugs or weapons probably come to mind. Lately, a destructive insect is attracting a lot of attention at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.

CBP Agriculture Inspectors spotted live Khapra Beetle larvae on a shipping container from China on October 28. The shipping container was packed with rain ponchos. After tests confirmed the dangerous inset, the trailer was sealed and sent back to Canada.

The Khapra Beetle, also known as Trogoderma granarium Everts, is a high risk pest, known to be very destructive to grains, cereals and stored foods.

Chief Agriculture Specialist Doug Zahno explained, “Economically it could be devastating.”

Finding the live larvae certainly wasn’t easy. It was only 1/16th of an inch. “We’re using magnifying glasses to determine if there are any pests there and microscopes to determine what the pests are.”

California implemented extensive eradication measures following a Khapra Beetle infestation discovered there in 1953. The effort was deemed successful, but it came at a cost of approximately $11 million. Calculated in today’s dollars, that would be about $90 million.

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