LOS ANGELES (AP) — Valentine's Day flowers are getting close scrutiny at Los Angeles International Airport.
Dozens of U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors are peering through magnifying glasses in the hunt for disease and pests in shipments of flowers from South America.
The Daily Breeze in Torrance says insects are placed in vials for closer examination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If insects are harmful, the importer is told the shipment must be fumigated, destroyed or returned.
Dozens of customs inspectors are checking the millions of flowers in shipments coming from Colombia, Ecuador and other South America countries. The most common pests are thrips, moths, aphids and miner flies.
Airport inspectors found 93 insects after examining 17.4 million flowers during the 2010 Valentine's Day shipping season.
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