MIAMI, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Before flowers show up in local florists around the country for Valentine’s Day, chances are they passed through Miami International Airport.
Miami International is the hub of the nation when it comes to flowers.
“We are talking billions. Every year we receive one billion dollars in value for flower imports into the US at MIA. Flower imports are huge for valentines, we get a billion flower stems between January 1st and February 15th,” Greg Chin with Miami International said.
Most of the flowers come from Colombia and Ecuador and are then shipped from Miami to cities throughout the United States. Nine out of ten flowers in the U.S. have moved through MIA.
Customs and Border Protection inspectors carefully inspect flowers as they arrive. They are looking for pests and diseases that could spread to other plants in the US.
“We are looking for bugs on every stem…every single flower has to go through this inspection,” Jose Thomas with CBP said.
In 2020, CBP agriculture specialists throughout the nation conducted more than 750,000 examinations of imported agriculture or agricultural-related commodities that yielded nearly 60,000 pests that could be harmful to U.S. agriculture and the environment.