The figure is staggering, 1.23 BILLION cut flower stems inspected.
US Customs and Border Patrol makes sure your flowers don’t have ‘guests’
Besides busting people for everything from smuggling monkeys to counterfeit cash or drugs, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is also tasked with inspecting many ag products that cross our borders, and this includes floral displays.
UCBP reported that as of February 1st, 2023, they had inspected or looked over a staggering amount of flowers coming into the country for Valentine’s holiday.
For all of 2022, that figure was 1.23 billion stems. The reason for this is we don’t want invasive species of insects riding in on your gift, and causing havoc with our ecosystems. For example, the Asian Murder Hornet–although it is not believed to have arrived via flowers, but instead cargo containers.
Many of the flowers sold at retail came from overseas, especially if they were from a larger store chain.
Between January 1st and February 1st, UCBP agents intercepted floral shipments that contained a massive amount of invasive critters. According to UCBP:
As of Feb. 1, CBP agriculture specialists have intercepted 1,235 insects and pests.
Some of them were rather small, others would NOT have painted a pretty picture for the holiday. These are 1,235 different kinds of invasive insects and pests that would have caused issues if allowed to spread into the environment.
So, this holiday, hopefully, your flowers won’t have any unwanted guests. If they don’t, thank the Customs and Border Patrol.
LOOK: Holiday gift crazes and fads of the past century