Boston — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Port of Boston’s agriculture specialists processed shipments of imported flowers totaling more than 3.7 million stems during the FY 2013 Valentine’s Day season, January 1 – February 14, an increase of nearly 4 percent compared to FY 2012.
“Boston’s highly trained agriculture specialists work behind the scenes every day, vigilantly intercepting pests and diseases that could harm our domestic resources,” said Kevin Weeks, director of field operations in Boston. “A single dangerous pest or disease could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops, natural resources and the flower industry.”
The success of CBP’s Agriculture Quarantine Inspection program in preventing the entry of pests and diseases is a result of the cooperative work that CBP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are doing together.
“Monitoring worldwide insect movements and plant disease outbreaks are key steps the USDA uses to establish the regulations and guidelines that govern the import of agricultural products,” said USDA APHIS State Plant Health Director Patricia M. Douglass. “In partnership with CBP, we are improving performance and making greater strides to protect the homeland.”
In FY 2013, Boston area CBP agriculture specialists performing agriculture exams throughout all environments recorded more than 1,000 pest interceptions. Specifically, some significant pests found on imported flowers in Boston included species in the following pest/animal families: Arionidae (slugs), Thripidae (thrips), Cecidomyiidae (gall midges) and Noctuidae (moths). Narcissus, Tulipa and Rosa were the most common genera of imported flowers.
This is the third year in a row that the Port of Boston made the ‘Top 10’ list of ports of entry that process large volumes of imported cut flowers.
Example plant diseases of quarantine significance that can be introduced via imported flowers are gladiolus rust and chrysanthemum white rust. If established in the United States, these diseases could severely impact the U.S. gladiolus and chrysanthemum industries.
During the 2013 Valentine’s season from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14, CBP nationwide processed 867.2 million cut flower stems. Most of the cut flower shipments are imported from South America, primarily Colombia, with 567.3 million stems or 65.4 percent, followed by Ecuador with 190.2 million stems or 21.9 percent.
Media who wish to visit one of these top 10 ports for flower imports, please contact the press officer assigned to that area. For contact information, please visit the Press Officers website.
For additional facts and figures about imported cut flowers, please visit the Stats and Summaries website.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.