Image courtesy Washington State Department of Agriculture Facebook page.
The Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) is warning residents not to open unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to have been sent from China, warning that they might be invasive or otherwise harmful. At least two households in Wyoming have received these seeds in the mail, according a July 24 Facebook post by WDA.
The concerning seeds have also been received by residents in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and Washington State, among other states including, most recently, Utah and Arizona, according to local news reports, and may introduce diseases to local plants or be harmful to livestock, per WDA.
Based on the photos in Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA) July 24 post, the seeds mailed to residents appear to have been mailed in clear plastic packages tucked inside grey pouches marked “untracked,” though other states have reported yellow envelopes have also been used.
Although the seeds did not appear to be “directly dangerous,” per a WSDA statement Monday, this is known as agricultural smuggling, and the USDA is asking people to keep the seeds and packaging as they may be needed as evidence.
Here in Wyoming, the WDA is asking anyone who receives an unsolicited package from China to contact Wyoming USDA-APHIS at (307) 432-7979 or by email State Plant Health Director Bruce Shambaugh at Bruce.A.Shambaugh@usda.gov for handling instructions.
“DO NOT plant them,” the WDA post stated.