Watch Out for Mysterious Seeds in the Mail

If you receive seeds in the mail you did not order, please do not plant them, and do not throw them in the trash.

That’s the urgent request of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. According to a VDACS press release issued July 24, a number of Virginia residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated in China. The mysterious packets have been found in mailboxes in other states as well, according to media reports. VDACS is concerned that the seeds may be that of an invasive plant species.

“The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them,” according to the VDACS release. The agency has posted an unsolicited seed pack reporting tool and has issued the following guidance to Virginia residents:

  • Do not open the seed packets;
  • Do not plant the seeds in the packets;
  • Do not throw the seeds in the trash, or flush them down the drain, or expose them to the environment in any way;
  • Put all packaging materials and seeds into a Ziploc bag; and
  • Ship all seed and packaging materials to the following address:

Chickeilla Carter
USDA-APHIS-PPQ
5657 South Laburnum Avenue
Richmond, VA 23231

Unsolicited seed packs also can be reported to ReportAPest@vdacs.virginia.gov by email.

“Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects, and severely damage crops,” warns VDACS. “Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.”

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