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Inspectors Comb Shipped Flowers For Dangerous Pests

Flowers

(Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — O’Hare International Airport is among the top 10 destinations for flowers from all over the world at this time of year.

And as WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, the pressure is on the inspectors keeping their eyes out for tiny would-be terrorists in the shipments.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

U.S. Customs and Border Protection specialists shake bouquets over tables, then search them with magnifying glasses.

“You talk about the proverbial needle in the haystack, but our officers are so highly skilled, so highly trained, very educated, they literally find that needle in the haystack,” said David Murphy director of Customs and Border Protection field operations in Chicago.

The inspectors are looking for pests that could devastate crops.

“Especially, we all want to show our affection for our loved-ones, and flowers are a great way to do that, but we want to make sure that not only are we celebrating this nice holiday, but we’re buying flowers that basically don’t have pests that could truly harm our economy,” Murphy said.

Last year in January and February alone, Customs and Border Protection intercepted 3,400 pests nationwide.