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CBP Inspects Imported Valentine's Flowers for Harmful Pests

Release Date: 
February 4, 2011

Miami - With Valentine's Day just around the corner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at U.S. ports of entry are busy making sure that flower imports used in Valentine's Day bouquets are free from insects and diseases that could harm the agricultural and floral industries of the United States.

CBP agriculture specialist inspects flowers for pests.

A CBP agriculture specialists inspects a shipment of flowers to assure that no harmful pests are introduced into the U.S.

Miami ranks first among U.S. ports of entry for shipments of cut flower imports, followed by Los Angeles. The quantity of imported cut flowers processed by both ports during the 2010 Valentine's season has more than doubled compared to the 2009 season.

Last year during Valentine's season, from January 1 to February 14:

  • CBP processed approximately 320.8 million cut flower stems, compared to 148.5 million stems processed during the 2009 season (45 per cent increase). Most of the cut flower shipments are imported from South America, primarily Colombia (211.9 million stems or 66 percent) followed by Ecuador (70.5 million stems or 33 percent).
  • Of the 211.9 million cut flower stems imported from Colombia, approximately 198 million (93 percent) were processed in Miami, where the top cut flower imports are Roses, mixed bouquets, and Dianthus.
  • CBP at the Miami port of entry processed approximately 272 million stems (or 85 percent) of the total imported flowers stems nationally, compared to 7.5 million flower stems at the port of entry in Los Angeles and 4 million stems at JFK in New York.
  • Miami intercepted 2,329 plant pests in these shipments of imported flowers that could be detrimental to American agriculture, followed by New York with 277 intercepted pests.
  • The most common type of insects intercepted in these cut flower imports are Moths (Noctuidae), Miner Flies (Agromyzidae), Aphididae (Aphids) and Thrips (Thripidae).
CBP agriculture specialist in Miami inspects bouquet of flowers.

CBP agriculture specialist in Miami inspects bouquet of flowers. The majority of imported flowers for Valentine's Day are processed through Miami.

The top 10 ports of entry, by volume (number of stems) that processed shipments of cut flower imports for the 2010 Valentine's Day season are:

Jan. 1-Feb. 14, 2010

Location Quantity in Stems
Miami 272,093,769
Los Angeles 17,431,830
Otay Mesa, Calif. 6,730,563
Laredo, Texas 5,845,189
New York 5,011,630
Wilmington, Del. 2,616,643
Chicago 2,233,072
Newark, N.J. 1,670,480
Philadelphia 1,596,856
San Juan, P.R. 1,159,129
Last modified: 
February 9, 2017