Los Angeles - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport prepare for Valentine's Day by inspecting cut flower shipments arriving from overseas, mostly South America.
CBP agriculture specialists inspect flowers to ensure they are free from pests or diseases. Historically, Valentine's Day is the second busiest time for cut flower importations. Mother's Day is the busiest.
CBP agriculture specialists are the first line of defense against pests and diseases that could harm the U.S. agriculture industry. These pests can seriously damage America's crops, livestock and the environment. If pests or diseases are intercepted, the shipments are treated, re-exported or destroyed.
Last year during this season, CBP agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport processed over 17.4 million flower stems and intercepted 93 pests. Los Angeles ranked second in the nation among U.S. ports of entry for the number of cut flower shipments during this season. Miami ranked first.
During the 2010 Valentine's Day season, CBP agriculture specialists nationwide intercepted 3,054 pests. In the same period, approximately 320.8 million cut flower stems were processed compared to 148.5 million stems during the 2009 season, an increase of 45 percent.
The top three types of flower shipments in the U.S. during the Valentine's season last year were roses, mixed bouquets and rose bouquets.