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CBP Keeps Imported Valentine Flowers Free of Harmful Pests and Diseases

Release Date: 
February 10, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.—During the weeks leading to Valentine's Day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection's highly trained agriculture specialists have been ensuring 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. During the 2010 Valentine's season, from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14:

The top 10 ports of entry by volume, that processed shipment of cut flower imports for the 2010 Valentine season are:

LocationQuantity in Stems
Los Angeles17,431,830
Otay Mesa, Calif.6,730,563
Laredo, Texas5,845,189
New York5,011,630
Wilmington, Del.2,616,643
Newark, N.J.1,670,480
San Juan, P.R.1,159,129

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.

  • CBP processed approximately 320.8 million cut flower stems compared to 148.5 millions stems processed during the 2009 season (an increase of 45 percent). 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).

  • 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 more than doubled compared to 2009 season.
  • CBP's Miami Port of Entry processed approximately 272 million stems, which is 85 percent of the total imported cut flowers nationally, compared to 123 million stems imported during 2009 season. Los Angeles is second in volume, processing 17.4 million flower stems during the 2010 Valentine's season, compared to 7.5 million stems imported during 2009 season.
  • Approximately 198 million (or 93 percent) 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).

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021