More than 500 million flowers will be imported into the country for Valentine’s Day celebrations. As they flow into the country, so is the possibility they will come with bugs. However, government officials take steps to make sure they don’t come into the country.
“We are doing 10 times the amount of business we would do in a normal day,” said Doug Lindamood, manager of George’s Flowers
Doug Lindamood, manager of George’s Flowers says just in roses alone they’ll sell more than 7000 stems.
“In addition to roses there’s hydrangea, there’s lilies, there’s carnations,”said Lindamood.
He says virginia’s flower production diminished in the early 90”s, so like many florists across the country he must import his flowers from overseas. When they cross the borders, he says there’s the potential they don’t come alone.
“Cut flowers are a cargo. And they’ve always been viewed as a potential pathway for insects to come in to the United States,” said Eric Day, manager of the Insect Identification Lab at Virginia Tech.
Eric Day of Virginia Tech says those bugs can cause an infestation. According to Customs and U.S. border protections, between January 24th and February 14th, 520 million stems of flowers come into the U.S., and during that period specially trained border agents will find roughly 1800 plant pests.
“So far it’s been 100 percent successful, and have not been able to make it into the United States,” said Day.
In addition, Lindamood and his staff do a final check as well.
Although experts are confident that all flowers from overseas are free from bug infestations. They encourage local farmers to grow their own product.
“You don’t have to have a lot of land it can be a quarter or half an acre. And you can produce a lot of product that will make it worth your while,” said Lindamood.
So maybe one day the flowers you give will be flowers grown in your own backyard.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend nearly $2 billion dollars on flowers during Valentine’s Day.