Beetles found in rice; shipment returned to India

September 16, 2011 - 9:30 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 20-foot shipping container of rice has been returned to India after customs authorities in Los Angeles found evidence of a destructive beetle in the shipment.

Customs officials said Friday that dead larvae were found on the outer seam of a bag of rice in an inspection earlier this month. Testing came back from the federal laboratories on September 7 that confirmed the dead larvae were Kharpa beetles.

The Kharpa beetle is a very destructive pest that eats stored grain, dried plants and dog food.

Kharpa beetles are resistant to fumigation, can survive without food or water for long periods and can hide in tiny cracks.

As of September 9, customs officials have intercepted 145 containers with Kharpa beetles at U.S. ports of entry this year.