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A beetle considered to be "one of the top 100 most feared pests in the world" was recently found in a bag of rice being sent through O'Hare Airport.
Chicago Customs and Border Protection spotted the tiny Khapra Beetle Aug. 16 in rice being shipped among clothing, pots and pans to the U.S. from India.
Cast skin and larvae was found in two 10-pound bags of rice, then sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Protection and Quarantine entomologists to be identified.
A federal quarantine restricts rice from being imported from countries with known Khapra Beetle infestations.
The beetle is known for living in grain elevators, warehouses and home pantries, and for being especially hard to kill. Its reputation as a destructive, tenacious pest comes from its ability to damage grain.
Earlier this month, Border Control agricultural specialists found beetles in a supply of bulgur wheat. In January, a dead beetle larva was discovered in a container of 50-pound sacks of rice and beans from India.
“Even though they are tiny creatures and can easily hide, the good news is that CBP agriculture specialists have the skills and fortitude to discover, isolate and identify these pests,” said Steve Artino, acting CBP director of field operations in Chicago.