The USCBP said it seized a parcel of plastic flowers that contained 630 live insect larvae.
The shipment of flowers was intercepted at JFK Airport’s mail facility, the agency said.
It warned that imported pests could 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.
A Thursday statement from the US Customs and Border Protection said that the shipment of artificial flowers mailed from Kenya contained 630 live insect larvae and was seized on May 3.
The flowers were being held by agriculture specialists from the agency to “prevent the spread of the pests,” the USCBP said.
The agency did not say which 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 said it discovered about 240 pests and seized 2,677 prohibited agricultural items across the US on a typical day.
In February, the agency said it discovered another pest in a batch of fresh flowers imported from Mexico. The small, black bug — known as the Corimelaena palmeri — 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.
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