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CBP Ensures Flowers Are Pest Free on Valentine’s Day

Release Date: 
February 13, 2018

Boston in the ‘Top 10’ Nationwide for Flower Importations

BOSTON — Every year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Port of Boston are responsible for processing millions of Valentine’s Day flowers, ensuring they are pest and disease-free.

Imported flowers may carry hitchhiking pests and diseases that could cause millions of dollars in damage to the U.S. flower industry and beyond. While the vast majority of flowers entering the country are safe, even one hitchhiking pest or plant disease can cause significant damage to American agriculture. It’s critically important not only to consumers, but to the vitality of the U.S. economy that cut flower imports are carefully inspected by CBP agriculture specialists.

CBP agriculture specialists inspect flowers to ensure they are not carrying harmful pests or diseases.
CBP agriculture specialists inspect flowers to
ensure they are not carrying harmful pests or

“Boston CBP cleared more than 2.5 million flower stems during last year’s Valentine’s Day season, placing Boston in the ‘Top 10’ ports of entry for processing the highest volume of cut flowers,” said Boston Area Port Director Clint Lamm. “CBP agriculture specialists are the first and best line of defense against any pests or diseases that could damage not only these annual flower shipments, but also our agricultural and environmental resources.

During the Valentine’s Day season last year, from January 1 to February 14, 2017 CBP agriculture specialists nationwide intercepted 823 actionable pests and processed more than 1 billion cut flower stems.

If pests or diseases are found, the shipments may be treated and released, re-exported or destroyed. Examples of past interceptions found on flowers by Boston CBP agriculture specialists include 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.

Historically, Valentine’s Day is the second busiest time for cut flower importations. Mother’s Day is the busiest. For more information and photos on how CBP protects our resources see 's Protecting Agriculture section.

Download footage and imagery of cut flower inspections through the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) and CBP Flickr.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in New England include border security, travel and trade facilitation at 68 ports of entry across a diverse array of land, air and maritime environments. To follow the latest CBP enforcement efforts in New England, visit @CBPNewEngland on Twitter.


Last modified: 
February 3, 2021