Destructive beetles found at Port of Oakland

April 10, 2009 5:17:30 PM PDT
Beetles from a species considered one of the most destructive in the world to grain, cereal and seed products have been discovered in a shipment at the Port of Oakland, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman said today.

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Khapra beetles, a federal quarantined pest, were found April 3 in a sea container shipment from India containing organic coriander seeds, according to Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman JoAnn Winks.

It was only the sixth time that live Khapra beetles have been intercepted in California, and the first time they was discovered in the Port of Oakland by a Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist, Winks said.

The beetle is established in much of Asia and Africa, and is "one of the foremost storage pests in the world," Winks said.

"All spices and sea products, specifically from India, have an infestation (of them) so we search pretty much 100 percent of their spices and seeds," she said. "It's a very destructive pest and we definitely don't want it here."

Seeds of the federal noxious weed Asphodelus fisulosus were also found in the shipment, which was sealed, refused entry, and re-exported to India.

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