Keeping pests away for Mother's Day - Tucson News Now

Keeping pests away for Mother's Day

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

People who import flowers from Mexico for Mother's Day could be bringing in trouble.

Agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection are watching Arizona's ports to make sure floral arrangements are free from insects, pests and diseases that could harm agricultural industries.

"The Mother's Day period is historically one of the busiest for floral imports along the southwest border," says Tracy Filippi, CBP Agriculture Program manager for the Tucson Field Office. "We strongly encourage the public to consult our website before importing floral arrangements so they know which flowers are permissible and which are prohibited or restricted."

CBP officials suggest anyone planning to import flowers and plants from Mexico to advise florists that the arrangements are destined for U.S. delivery.  Some flowers and plant materials commonly found in floral arrangements are prohibited, including gladiolas, chrysanthemums and choisya (a floral filler) due to pest risk.

While arelatively small number of harmful pests are found among the millions of stems inspected by CBP, a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars in damage to our nation's crops.

They should also declare to CBP officers all items acquired abroad to avoid civil or criminal penalties and reduce the risk of introducing pest and disease to the U.S.

Traditionally, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and Easter holiday weekends are times when CBP agriculture specialists are busy inspecting floral arrangements. At international ports of entry, land borders, and international mail facilities, CBP agriculture specialists are the frontline against the introduction of insects, pests and diseases into the United States.

More information is available at the CBP Info Center.

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