Agents busy inspecting Valentine's Day flowers from around the world

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Valentine's Day and roses go hand in hand. Many of the ones sold here in Houston come in from all over the world but before you can smell the roses federal agents are going to check them over.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors look at flowers before they hit the flower shops and stores. They inspect them and then they ship them off. They say they have an important job and Valentine's Day highlights it.

"We got a lot of roses, especially this week because Valentine's is around the corner," said Gisel Medina Bobe with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Medina Bobe inspects this shipment of roses from Colombia by shaking them and examining what falls to the stark white paper below. What she finds seems no larger than a pinprick but it will hold up all the flowers from that grower. It was a tiny insect that has to go to the lab. The shipment won't go any farther for now. They say protecting you from getting more than you bargained for this Valentine's weekend.

"It's not only about having some flowers on the dining table, it's about protecting agriculture, landscaping in the U.S.," said Medina Bobe.

About 20 percent of what comes in has to be flagged and if the flowers have some kind of disease, pest in them they will have to be destroyed.

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