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AGRIBUSINESS: Border Agents Watching For Valentine Flower Pests

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Valentine flowers often come from imported stems. Millions of them come through customs this time of year and are inspected to make sure disease and insects are not coming with them.

Customs and border agents attempt to spot a relatively small number of harmful hitchhiking pests hidden among the 800 million flowers entering the country.  Even a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops.

One of the most serious diseases that can be introduced through imported flowers is chrysanthemum white rust. If established in the United States, the disease could decimate the U.S. chrysanthemum industry. Other agricultural pests and diseases capable of destroying our nation’s crops or forests include the Emerald ash borer, the Asian long-horned beetle, citrus canker, and the Khapra beetle.