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  4. CBP Specialists in Texas Ensure Pest-Free Valentine's Flowers

CBP Specialists in Texas Ensure Pest-Free Valentine's Flowers

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Laredo, Texas - In the weeks leading to Valentine's Day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection's highly trained agriculture specialists ensure that plant diseases and plant pests are detected and prevented from being introduced into the United States where they could cause harm.

At international ports of entry, land borders and mail facilities, CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of harmful insects and diseases into the United States. In fiscal year 2009, CBP agriculture specialists seized more than 1.5 million prohibited plant, meat and animal byproducts and intercepted more than 166 thousand pests at the U.S. ports of entry.

CBP officers performing agriculture exams at the eight ports of entry between Brownsville and Del Rio, Texas recorded 132,962 interceptions of quarantine plant materials and 21,259 pest interceptions during fiscal year 2009.

  • At South Texas area ports of entry, the most commonly prohibited flowers and plant materials are chrysanthemums, gladiolas, murraya and choysia (an ornamental filler). These items are not allowed to enter the U.S. from Mexico because they are known to harbor harmful pests and disease.
  • Individuals purchasing floral arrangements in Mexico for transport to the U.S. should advise their florist so prohibited plant species will not be used in the arrangement.
  • CBP processed approximately 148.5 million cut flower stems. Most of the cut flower shipments were imported from South America, primarily Colombia (97 million stems or 65 percent) followed by Ecuador (33 million stems or 23 percent).
  • Of the 97 million cut flower stems imported from Colombia, 90 million (or 93 percent) were processed in Miami, where the top cut flower imports are Roses, mixed bouquets, and Dianthus.
  • Miami ranks first among U.S. ports of entry for shipments of cut flower imports, followed by Los Angeles, JFK New York, and Newark.
  • CBP at Miami port of entry processed approximately 123 million (or 83 percent) stems of imported flowers, compared to 7.5 million flower stems at Los Angeles and 4 million stems at JFK New York.
  • In these shipments of imported flowers, Miami intercepted 1,566 plant pests that could be detrimental to American agriculture, New York intercepted 277 and Otay Mesa, Calif., intercepted 206.
  • The most common type of insects intercepted in these cut flower imports are Moths (Noctuidae), Miner Flies (Agromyzidae), and Thrips (Thripidae).

The top 10 ports of entry, by volume, that processed shipment of cut flower imports for the 2009 Valentine season are: Miami; Los Angeles; JFK New York; Newark; Laredo; Otay Mesa, Calif.; San Juan, PR; Dallas, Wilmington, DE; St. Louis, MO.

Last Modified: February 3, 2021