OAKLAND (CBS SF) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection working at the Port of Oakland discovered a Khapra beetle infestation while examining a shipment of chickpeas from India last week.
During the inspection, agriculture specialists found what appeared to be Khapra beetle shells and larvae inside sealed plastic bags containing chickpeas.
The containers were immediately reloaded and sealed and sent to the local USDA Plant Inspection Station where they were positively identified.
The container holding 13,736 kg. of chickpeas, lentils, and other Indian foodstuffs will be re-exported back to India, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Frank Falcon.
Falcon said the Khapra beetle is classified as a “top threat” by the United States Department of Agriculture, posing a substantial risk to stored food products such as grains and packaged foods. Once infested the insects are extremely difficult to eradicate, since they can survive for long periods without food or moisture, and are resistant to many insecticides.
“Previous U.S. detection of this tiny beetle have required massive, long-term and costly control and eradication efforts,” says the USDA’s hungrypests.com, a website devoted to raising awareness of invasive pest threats.
Last fall, agriculture specialists at the Port of Oakland said they sent 1.2 million pounds of soybeans and 88,000 pounds of rice back to India.