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CBP in West Texas Ensures Valentine's Day Flowers Pest-Free

Release Date: 
February 8, 2011

El Paso, 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.

CBP agriculture specialist inspect a shipment of cut flowers at the El Paso port of entry February 8, 2011. CBP 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.

CBP agriculture specialist inspect a shipment of cut flowers at the El Paso port of entry February 8, 2011. CBP 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. El Paso area CBP officers performing agriculture exams recorded 68,025 quarantine material interceptions and 5,243 pest interceptions during fiscal year 2010.

At El Paso area ports of entry, the most commonly prohibited flowers and plant materials are chrysanthemums, gladiolas, and choisya (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 in Miami processed approximately 272 million stems, or 85 percent of the total imported cut flowers nationally, compared to 123 million stems imported during last year's season. Los Angeles has ranked second by processing 17.4 million flower stems during the 2010 Valentine's season, compared to 7.5 million stems imported during last year's season.

Approximately 198 million (or 93%) of cut flower stems imported from Colombia were processed in Miami, where the top cut flower imports are Roses, mixed bouquets, and Dianthus. The imported cut flowers inspection process resulted in a total of 3,054 pest interceptions nationally. Miami intercepted 2,329 plant pests, followed by New York with 277 plant pests.

The most common type of insects intercepted in these cut flower imports are Thrips (Thripidae), Moths (Noctuidae), Aphididae (Aphids), and Miner Flies (Agromyzidae). Additional CBP cut flowers facts and figures can be found at the following web page:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017