BOSTON — Every year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Port of Boston process millions of Valentine’s Day flowers, ensuring they are pest and disease-free.
“Boston CBP cleared more than 5.2 million flower stems during last year’s Valentine’s Day season, nearly doubling the volume from the previous year,” said Director of Field Operations William Ferrara. “CBP agriculture specialists are the first line of defense against pests and diseases that could damage not only these annual flower shipments, but also our agricultural and environmental resources.”
During the 2016 Valentine’s Day season, CBP agriculture specialists nationwide intercepted 2,441 pests and diseases. In the same period, approximately 940 million cut flower stems were processed compared to 976 million stems during the 2015 season, a decrease of 3.6 percent.
Historically, Valentine’s Day is the second busiest time for cut flower importations - Mother’s Day is the busiest.
If pests or diseases are intercepted, the shipments are treated, re-exported or destroyed. Some example interceptions found last year on flowers by Boston CBP agriculture specialists included species of Margarodidae, Arion and Miridae, commonly known as mealy bugs, slugs, and plant or leaf bugs, respectively.
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. The top three countries of origin were: Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.