Destructive pest found in baggage at Philly airport

 This photo released by U.S. Customs and Border Control shows a khapra beetle larva, found in a bag of dried beans at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Customs officers found live Khapra beetles twice in passenger bags in September at Philadelphia International Airport. (AP photo/U.S. Customs and Border Control)

This photo released by U.S. Customs and Border Control shows a khapra beetle larva, found in a bag of dried beans at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Customs officers found live Khapra beetles twice in passenger bags in September at Philadelphia International Airport. (AP photo/U.S. Customs and Border Control)

Federal authorities say a destructive agricultural pest was found in the bags of airline passengers at Philadelphia International Airport twice recently.

Live khapra beetles were found twice in passenger bags in September, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In both cases, the insects were discovered in dried goods carried by passengers from Sudan via Qatar.

The khapra beetle is considered one of the world’s most destructive insect pests of grains, cereals and stored foods. It is the only insect that triggers regulatory action by the agency even when it is found dead, authorities said.

Authorities say the beetle damages more grain than it consumes and leaves contaminants that can sicken adults and especially infants. Khapra beetles can also tolerate insecticides and fumigants and survive for long periods without food.

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