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CBP Agriculture Specialists in Miami Ensure Flowers are Pest Free for Valentine’s Day

Release Date: 
February 8, 2017

MIAMI—Flowers are the most popular gift item during Valentine’s Day celebrations, but they could also be the hiding place for dangerous insects and diseases. U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) highly trained agriculture specialists at Miami International Airport spend numerous hours inspecting cut flower imports to ensure that these are pest free.

Miami International Airport ranks first among United States ports of entry for shipments of cut flower imports, followed by Los Angeles.  Miami Agriculture Air Cargo operations leads all United States airports with 88 percent of fresh-cut flowers and 74 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables imported into the United States every year.

“CBP here in Miami plays a vital role during Valentine’s Day celebrations.  Our agriculture specialists work tirelessly to ensure that hitchhiking pests are intercepted before reaching your homes and your loved ones.  The economic ramifications of allowing harmful and destructive pests into our county can be devastating to the United States flower industry,” said Miami International Airport Port Director Christopher D. Maston.

During the 2016 Valentine’s season:

  • CBP agriculture specialists in Miami processed approximately 524,006,741 stems of cut flowers during the peak season of January 24, 2016 to February 14, 2016. 
  • The imported cut flowers inspection process resulted in 1,806 pest interceptions in Miami.  The most common type of plant pests intercepted in cut flower imports are Noctuidae (Moths), Aphididae (Aphids), Frankliniella sp. (Thrips), and Tetranychus sp. (Mites).
  • On an average day, CBP agriculture specialists intercept approximately 58 plant pest interceptions from products of agriculture concern. During the 2016 peak season, CBP agriculture specialists in Miami intercepted approximately 82 plant pests each day from cut flowers.
  • The flowers mainly come from Colombia, which exports nearly 700 million flowers to the US for Valentine’s Day, followed by Ecuador, Mexico, the Netherlands and Costa Rica.

Additional information on CBP inspection of imported cut flowers available on following links:

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021