- The USCBP said it’s seized a parcel of plastic flowers that contained 630 live insect larvae.
- The shipment of flowers was intercepted at JFK Airport’s mail facility, per the agency.
- It warned that imported pests can potentially cause millions of dollars in damages to US agriculture.
US customs officers inspecting a parcel at New York’s JFK Airport discovered hundreds of insect larvae hidden in a batch of plastic flowers earlier this month.
The mailed shipment of artificial flowers from Kenya contained 630 live insect larvae and was seized on May 3, the US Customs and Border Protection said in a Thursday statement.
The flowers are being held by agriculture specialists from the agency to “prevent the spread of the pests,” the USCBP said.
The agency did not say what insect species the larvae belonged to.
“Although many are tiny and seem innocuous, pests can delay global trade, and destabilize our national economy and food supply. A single pest can cause millions of dollars in damages,” the agency said.
The USCBP discovers around 240 pests and seizes 2,677 prohibited agricultural items across the US on a typical day, it added.
In February, the agency said it discovered a pest in a batch of fresh flowers imported from Mexico. The small, black bug known as the Corimelaena palmeri, was a pest that had never entered the US before, according to official records.
Border officials even intercept insects on planes, like when the USCBP found an unwanted beetle in March 2022 in the passenger cabin of an aircraft arriving in Puerto Rico from Senegal.