Local Customs and Border Protection work to ensure Mother’s Day flowers are pest-free

(WWTI) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection are “putting the pedal to the metal” ahead of the busiest time of year for flower imports. Making sure Mother’s Day flowers are pest-free CBP agricultural specialists have been working around the clock to inspect cut flowers bound for stores and household that can carry pests and diseases.

CBP agriculture specialist physically inspect all flowers and plants before officially entering the country. These inspections include shaking flowers to dislodge insects, using magnifying glasses to locate pests and diseases and using digital imagery and other technology to confirm their identity.

According to CBP data, goldenrods, Peruvian lily and chrysanthemum are the flower species most often known for carrying pests. Cut flowers may also transport Noctuidae and Aphididae, known as owlet moth and aphids, which can cause irreversible damage.

Flower inspection, Buffalo, New York (photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Additionally, CBP reported that it processes a large number of flowering plants during the Mother’s Day season. Many of these plants are imported from greenhouses in Canada and processed locally at ports on entry including Alexandria Bay, Buffalo and Champlain, New York.

“No one wants to give mom a bouquet teeming with insects or diseases that can wreak havoc on the environment,” said CBP Agriculture Programs and Trade Liaison Executive Director Kevin C. Harriger. “CBP agriculture specialists are on the frontline ensuring that cut flowers, hanging baskets, and other plant imports are pest-free and presentation ready for Mother’s Day.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported that in 2021, agriculture specialists have inspected over one billion cut flower stems and have interdicted nearly 2,000 pests.

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