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Customs Agents Make Sure You Don’t Bug Your Valentine

If you plan to cross the border with flowers from Mexico for your Valentine in the U.S., plan on a trip to secondary inspection. Customs and Border Protection agents will screen all flowers to make sure they don't "bug" your loved one.

Roses are red, and they will get you the red light when you carry them across the border from Mexico to the U.S.

Leslie Gomez-Montez heads Customs and Border Protection's agriculture program in San Diego.

She says roses, carnations and most other flowers are allowed into the U.S., but only after they pass inspection.

"The ones that are not allowed are chrysanthemums and gladiolas. And that's because of diseases that are found on both types of flowers. There's chrysanthemum white rust and gladiolis white rust," said Gomez-Montez.

Gomez-Montez says plants potted in soil are also prohibited.

She says some bugs are OK, but agents will seize flowers found carrying critters that could harm plants in the U.S.

Nationally, customs agents inspected more than 148 million cut flowers during the month and a half leading up to Valentine's Day last year.

Audio

Aired 2/12/10

If you plan to cross the border with flowers from Mexico for your Valentine in the US, plan on a trip to secondary inspection. Customs and Border protection agents will screen all flowers.

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