MIAMI (CBSMiami) — With love in the air and Valentine’s Day right around the corner, more flowers than people have touched down at Miami International Airport in receent days.READ MORE: South Florida PBA Union President Steadman Stahl On Stress Of Being A Police Officer
The majority of the flowers come from Colombia, Ecuador and other parts of South America.
But before they can be shipped out they must be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents who check for things that could harm the agricultural and floral industries in this country.
“I’m just basically going through, looking for any signs of diseases or maybe any insets that may be attached,” said CBP agent Edward Putland.
And since they’re for Valentine’s Day, the inspections are done with special care.READ MORE: Shot Doral Police Officer In Serious But Stable Condition, Second Officer Recovering
“We inspect them with love,” said chief agricultural inspector Michael DiBlasi with a laugh. “We take the time and care to inspect this stuff so when it goes to someone’s table or a vase they’re actually in good shape.”
During the inspection each batch of stems is given a couple of taps to see what falls out. Sometimes they have bug, but there have been other surprises.
“We have seen snakes,” said Alida Mota.
And when that happens.
“We jump,” said Mota with a grin.MORE NEWS: 2 Doral Police Officers Injured In Shooting Near Miami-Dade Police Headquarters; Suspect Killed
Nationwide, nearly a billion flowers will enter the country in the three weeks before Valentine’s Day with about half of them ending up in refrigerated storage facilities in South Florida.