Valentine’s Day Flowers Frisked for Bugs

Sending flowers on Valentine’s Day is a very romantic gesture.  However, what would you do if you received flowers with some extra pests on them? Thanks to the Customs and Border Patrol, this doesn’t happen.

The most imported flowers for Valentine’s Day are roses, daffodils, orchids, tulips and delphiniums.  All of these flowers can be imported with unwanted bugs.
February is the busiest time for flower importers.  Agricultural inspectors are working overtime to increase their searches to keep pests and/or infected plants from coming into the United States.  Between January 1st and February 14th, 2011, the Customs and Border Patrol agents found more than 3,400 insects in the 802.5 million cut flowers that were imported.

A couple bugs might not seem like a big deal, but the Customs and Border Patrol says, “the most common type of insects intercepted in cut flower imports are Thrips (Thripidae), Moths (Noctuidae), Aphids (Aphididae), and Miner Flies (Agromyzidae). Their goal is to remove these bugs so your flowers are delivered to your loved ones bug-free! These insects are considered invasive as they have the potential to seriously affect the habitats and bioregions they invade.  This can affect the United States economically, environmentally and/or ecologically.”
When purchasing your Valentine’s Day flowers this year, remember all the people who made sure your flowers are sent to you pest free.

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