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Rose Inspectors Don’t Stop
News Bytes 02/14/2019 29 Comments

About 90% of cut flowers imported into the U.S. every year come through Miami. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors check those goods by hand, stem by stem, for stowaways that could threaten U.S. crops. So even though the U.S. government shut down for five weeks in January, one service continued at Miami International Airport: checking for bugs in roses.

“Chances are, if you buy a loved one flowers,” observes Christopher Maston, the agency’s port director at Miami’s airport, they came through [here].”

Rose growers start their production plans three or four months early, in order to have flowers blooming for February 14. The roses begin arriving in Miami soon after New Year’s Day, and the push continues through Valentine’s Day.

Workers examined over 6 billion cut flower stems in Miami alone during 2018—compared with just under 1 billion processed at all other ports from Boston to Honolulu.

In February, the delicate cargo flies in on 95-100 daily flights, mostly from Colombia and Ecuador, compared with a dozen or so daily flights the rest of the year.

Last year, agriculture inspectors in Miami examined 1.3 billion cut flower stems and kept over 2,100 pests from leaving the airport during the Valentine’s season.

Inspectors wear gloves and masks as they work at long tables in cold, brightly lit rooms. They unwrap each bouquet, pick through its stems and shake it upside down over a placemat-size piece of white paper. Everything that falls onto the paper is examined for aphids, mites, moths, and other insects.

Now another flower-focused holiday looms on inspectors’ calendars: Mother’s Day.

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection agricultural specialists inspect flowers at Miami International Airport in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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Most recent comments

1st comment!!!

I love roses!!

My dad gets my mom roses for

My dad gets my mom roses for her birthday.

Roses are so pretty! I HATE

Roses are so pretty! I HATE bugs with my entire soul, so I'm very grateful that people take away those pests.
(Sorry if I offended anyone by saying I hate bugs, please don't take it the wrong way

That's OK I don't like bugs

That's OK I don't like bugs ether. you didn't offend me.

Wow! that's mind blowing

We got a lot of roses for valentines. I can't believe thermoses we have actually been searched for big mean insects. also Happy Valentines Day!


I meant the roses.


@ Isabel B, I also hate bug's, no matter how helpful they are. Roses are my favorite flowers. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


I love roses! I HATE BUGS! EEEW!

Happy Valentines dAY

ISABEL B, you aren't offending anyone. I have never met someone who actually loves bugs : )

To above.

Me either!

happy valentines day

Happy valentines day everyone!!! I love roses they are so pretty.....


That’s so cool! Whouldn’t it be an interesting job to have? I do not like bugs! So I’m glad they are there to check for them! Happy (late) Valentine’s Day!

Did anyone notice that no

Did anyone notice that no boys commented?:) Oh, and Isabel, Nadia, Tabitha, Leah and Sarah, You're supposed to love your enemies, right? So how about practicing on those bugs:p JK!! JK!!

I will be that first boy

I will be that first boy ALYSSA S. I don’t like bugs either, but I don’t hate them.

I am a different Sarah

I like some bugs, but not others.


I know but bugs have ruined my family's gardens for years so I kinda can't help but dislike them

My brothers love bugs. I used

My brothers love bugs. I used to(when I was little) dig up and play with worms!!
That's sooooo gross now!! Iiiiwwwwwww!!!!!

I can't belive I did that!!


I was like ...6or7.

Well, when my sister and I

Well, when my sister and I were little and when it would rain, we used to go outside (while it was still downpouring ) and rescue worms from drowning!! Hopefully you all know that my earlier comment was a joke:) I don't scream when my brother brings a worm to me, but I don't really enjoy them either! Sorry about your garden, Leah P.! Our garden is mostly eaten by rabbits.


We did that to!! Exept it wasn't dounporing. And we used to resque (wat we thought was rescuing) Toads from the "murky waters of the pool" it was fun but know I would not do eney of that.

Also nice story!

To Arachnophobics

I like spiders and am VERY against killing them.


I like butterflies.not spiders.

but thats ok!!

I'm fine with spiders as long

I'm fine with spiders as long as they are OUT of the house! our basement is almost covered with them and my brother, whose room is in the basement, hates them!! P.S. Does anyone think " Daddy Long-Legs" is the most poisonous spider in the world with a mouth so tiny it can't bite? If so, you're wrong! " Daddy Long-Legs" isn't actually a spider, but of the order Opiliones (Don't ask me what that is !!).

Spiders are neat, so long as

Spiders are neat, so long as they’re not both venomous and on me.


I new that, thanks for posting it its good information.


My middle name is rose! I love roses to! Thats really smart of them to check the roses and protect crops.


I would HHHAAAATTTTEEEE bugs in my roses.


and I agree with you Sarah about the spiders.
Spiders are desent

ATTENTION!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE HELP EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We REALLY need help at the article "Gaming, When is too much too much", because we are at about 600 or so comments, and we want to get 400 more. I hope ya'll aren't too lazy to put that in the search engine and help us...… PLEASE?!?!?!?!?

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