A biosecurity officer at Sydney international airport has prevented the entry of khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium) into Australia, after finding dead beetles and live larva in cardamom pods declared by a traveller.

Using traditional ID techniques, the larva was identified as khapra beetle, a serious threat to Australian grain crops, such as wheat, barley and rice. A trial technique using a new mass spectrometry machine also confirmed the larva as khapra beetle.

Khapra is tiny beetle that infests stored produce such as grain shipments or silos, eating the produce and making it inedible.

If khapra beetle was to establish here, it would impact grain exports from Australia, causing huge losses, estimated at $15 billion.

Find out more about khapra beetle here.