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CBP in Miami Examines Cut Flower Imports Arriving for Valentine’s Day

Release Date: 
February 12, 2014

Miami—Flowers are the most popular gift item during the yearly celebration of Valentine’s Day, but they could also be the hiding place for dangerous pests.                     

U.S. Customs and Border Protection highly trained agriculture specialists at Miami International Airport spend numerous hours searching for these conspicuous bugs.CBP agriculture specialists examining flower imports at MIA.

CBP Port Director for Miami International Airport Roland Suliveras said, "Cut flower importations into Miami International Airport continue to grow in volume and represent a significant portion of trade in South Florida. CBP in Miami is committed to facilitating the movement of these flowers to market while ensuring the interception of pests and the protection of American agriculture.”

While a relatively small number of harmful pests are found among the millions of stems inspected, CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of harmful insects and diseases into the United States. Even a single pest can cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage.

CBP processed approximately 867.2 million cut flower stems during the 2013 Valentine’s season from Jan.1 to Feb.14, compared to 842.2 million stems processed during the 2012 season – an increase of three percent. Most of the cut flower shipments are imported from South America, primarily Colombia, with 567.3 million stems or 65.4 percent, followed by Ecuador with 190.2 million stems or 21.9 percent.

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 2013 Valentine’s season increased 4 percent compared to the 2012 season.

During the 2013 Valentine’s season:

CBP in Miami processed approximately 738.2 million stems, or 85 percent of the total imported cut flowers nationally, compared to 716.7 million stems imported during the previous year’s season.  Los Angeles ranked second by processing 43.7 million flower stems during the 2013 Valentine’s season, compared to 35 million stems imported during the 2012 season.

  • Approximately 538.9 million cut flower stems imported from Colombia were processed in Miami, where the top cut flower imports are roses, mixed bouquets, and rose bouquets.
  • The imported cut flowers inspection process resulted in a total of 1,715 pest interceptions nationally.  Miami intercepted 1,008 pests, followed by Los Angeles with 206 pests.
  • The most common type of insects intercepted in these cut flower imports are species of Tetranychus (mites), Aphididae (Aphids), Agromyzidae (Miner Flies), Noctuidae (moths) and Frankliniella (Thrips).
Last modified: 
February 9, 2017