PITTSBURGH (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say agents at Pittsburgh International Airport discovered a destructive beetle in a bag of rice being carried by a passenger flying from Saudi Arabia.
Customs agents said Friday that live Khapra beetles and larvae were discovered Sept. 12 in the passenger’s 10-pound bag of rice.
The insects are known for destroying grain products and officials say prior efforts to eradicate the beetles in the United States were costly and time-consuming.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a two-year-old ban on bringing small, noncommercial quantities of rice from Saudi Arabia and about two dozen other countries.
It says the beetle is considered one of the worst invasive species because it can tolerate insecticides and can survive without food for long periods.