SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Flowers are one of the most popular gift items during the yearly celebration of Mother’s Day, but they could also be the hiding place for dangerous pests. Detecting and preventing pests from entering the U.S. avoids significant economic and environmental harm and CBP agriculture specialists have the responsibility to ensure that imported cut flowers are free from microscopic insects and diseases.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina and the Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla spend numerous hours searching for these bugs. During special celebrations, including Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, agriculture specialists see an increase in the number of floral imports and make sure those imports are free from insects, pests or disease.
“Stopping pests at the ports of entry is a critical mission for our agricultural specialists to protect the public and our commercial vitality,” said Marcelino Borges, Director of Field Operations for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
While a relatively small number of harmful pests are found among the millions of stems inspected by CBP, a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops.
CBP recommends that people who wish to import flowers, plant materials, and other agricultural items consult the CBP Info Center section on the CBP website before they travel.
CBP agriculture specialists at international ports of entry, land borders and international mail facilities will remain vigilant to prevent the introduction of insects, pests and diseases into the United States.
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.