Customs officials in Houston made a pretty startling discovery while inspecting a furniture shipment last week. They found some cast-off skins from Khapra beetles among the straw brooms and burlap sacks in the shipping container.
So what, you say? Dude, you don't want to mess with the Khapra beetle.
"The Khapra beetle is considered to be one of the world's most destructive pests of grain products and seeds," Purdue University says. The thing thrives on grains, and just eats the hell out of them. You store a bunch of grain and let some of these beetles in, and you can find yourself with only 30 percent of the grain you thought you had.
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The beetle has been discovered in the US before and eradicated relaitvely quickly, but once it takes hold -- as it has in Asia and other places around the globe -- it can be very expensive to get rid of.
So you definitely don't want a couple of the things crawling into Houston on some brooms.
"This interception is an example of the level of vigilance among our officers and agriculture specialists in protecting American agriculture from exotic pests and diseases," said Jeffrey O. Baldwin Sr., director of Houston Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in a prepared statement
The shipping container that held the items and the bugs is under quarantine, and is being sent back whence it came.