Customs agents help keep Valentine’s petals pest-free


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Customs agents help keep Valentine’s petals pest-free

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People who received a bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day were usually looking for this card earlier in the week.

But when Customs and Border Protection officials received them earlier this year, they were hunting for pests, as the U.S. has grown more reliant on imported flowers from overseas growers in recent years.

This year, CBP agricultural experts inspected nearly 400,000 consignments of flowers nationwide, photographing them and removing any hitchhiking pests. In 2022, agents across the country have discovered about 700 species of important pests.

“This Valentine’s Day, or any other day, when you present a beautiful bouquet of flowers to your loved ones, know that CBP’s agricultural experts make sure your bouquet is free of any pests that could harm the garden or your family, or cause harm to our country. agriculture,” said Stephen Maloney, director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Baltimore Field Operations.

Some of the most common pests that can hitchhike include owl moths, aphids, moths, and leafminers. The insect’s larvae have the potential to cause widespread damage to crops, fruits and ornamental plants.

The Netherlands is a major source of imported cut flowers, mainly supplying tulips, the most popular flower through CBP offices. In 2021, the Netherlands shipped nearly 3.9 million rhizomes to U.S. ports of entry. Other countries that regularly ship flowers to the United States include Ethiopia, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Colombia.

At CBP’s Baltimore field offices from central New Jersey to northern Virginia, agricultural experts inspected more than 100 shipments of flowers and more than 4.5 million stems in January.

“CBP’s agricultural experts keep us safe every day by protecting our nation’s vital agricultural resources and economic vitality,” Maloney said.

Patrick Waring is a staff writer for Forum Reviews. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@triblive.com or via Twitter.

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