LAX: Fresh flowers are big business for airlines

Many of the flowers you buy at your local flower shop arrive by air. Photo: Associated Press.

Many of the flowers you buy at your local flower shop arrive by air. Photo: Associated Press.

Ever wonder how those fresh flowers make it to shops across the Los Angeles region?

Many of them come by air, arriving on passenger and cargo flights at Los Angeles International Airport. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP officers processed 867.2 million cut flower stems nationwide during last year’s “Valentine’s Day” season, which runs from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14. Miami processes the overwhelming majority of those flowers.

CBP said it was expecting about 43 million flowers to come through LAX for this Valentines Day. About 65 percent of the flowers come from Colombia, while another 21 percent come from Ecuador, according to CBP.

The top arrival? You guessed it. It’s roses.

Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The problem with these flower shipments, according to CBP, is that South American pests can burrow themselves inside of them, which can be bad for U.S. agriculture. CBP says it “intercepted” 206 pests last year. Nationwide, those bad pests include Aphididae (Aphids), Frankliniella (Thrips), Noctuidae (moths), Agromyzidae (Miner Flies) and Tetranychus (mites).

If you’re interested in more information on flower imports, Scott Mayerowitz of the Associated Press has a great story up today.

“Heat is the enemy,” Mayerowitz wrote. “When a plane touches down in Miami, the flowers are rushed to a nearby warehouse where a parade of forklifts carry them into giant coolers — really rooms — set at 35 degrees. Every time the giant cooler doors open up, fog rolls out as the frigid air hits the Florida humidity.”

Flowers

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