Most Feared Pest Found in shipment at O’Hare

Customs officials in Chicago have found what they call one of the “most feared” pests in the world in a shipment of rice that came from India, officials announced today.

According to a release from the Chicago office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Khapra beetle was found Aug. 16 at O’Hare International airport when agriculture specialists working in the cargo area found two 10-pound bags of rice in a shipment of personal household items. A cast skin and larva was found inthe rice, according to the release, and subsequent examination identified it as a Khapra beetle.

The beetle, which is about 2 to 3 millimeters long as an adult and about 5 millimeters long as a larva, is described in the release as “one of the world’s most tenacious and destructive stored-produce pests because of its ability to damage grain.”

 There is a federal quarantine restricting the importation of rice into the U.S,. from countries with known infestations of the beetle, and that quarantine led to the search that found the beetle here. It’s the fourth time this year that O’Hare inspectors have found examples of the beetle in agricultural shipments from overseas.