Defending our nation takes many different forms - some you may not have thought about.  News has broke about an interception at the U.S. border in International Falls of a destructive beetle larvae in a shipping container from China.  The discovery was made about a month ago during an inspection. The beetle larvae - which is destructive to stored agriculture products - was in a commercial shipment labeled as welding wire.

The larvae discovered was that of the Khapra beetle. Authorities say that it's not the first time that the species has been discovered.  In the past, customs agents have found it packaged along animal hides, corrugated cardboard boxes, and burlap bags.  Left to its own devices, the Kharpa beetle is considered one of the world's most-destructive pests - rendering seeds and other grain products useless.  According to information obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Kharpa beetle is responsible for a destruction range between 30%  to sometimes as high as 70%. In the past, discovery of this pest has required massive, expensive eradication and control mechanisms.

At this time, it's not known what the intent of the shipment was.  Discovered on May 12, the larvae was turned over to federal authorities at the United States Department of Agriculture regional laboratory.  At the lab, technicians tested the larvae for identification.  A USDA entomologist finally declared that the discovery was in fact the Kharpa beetle.

Native to India, the Kharpa beetle has spread with infestations in Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean.  A massive infestation occurred in California back in 1953, with other medium-scale infestations following in the 1980's and 1990's.

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