RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a warning Friday urging residents in the state to not plant seeds from unsolicited packages as they could be invasive plant species that “wreak havoc on the environment.”
Several Virginia residents have informed the department that they have received packages in the mail containing seeds that appear to have come from China. In an email, the department states that the type of seeds in the packages are unknown and “may be invasive plant species.”
The packages could have Chinese writing on them, according to the department.
“Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops,” VDACS wrote in the email. “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.”
Virginia Beach resident Regina Hatchell found the seeds in her mailbox on Thursday afternoon.
“There was a small little gray package, 4 inches by 5 inches, very flat but it had all Chinese writing on it,” Hatchell said.
The package had her address but no name. The words “rose stud earrings” were printed on the label. Confused and concerned, Hatchell found similar mail stories online. She called the state department of agriculture and eventually opened the package.
“Inside the package was another clear packaging and you could clearly see that there was some type of seed,” she said.
Hatchell wonders if her location was intentionally sought out. She lives in Pungo.
“The biggest thing is if the seeds are an invasive plant, that could destroy our agriculture,” Hatchell said.
Hatchell said VDACS picked up the seeds so they can be sent to a lab for testing.
Officials are asking any Virginia resident who has received unsolicited seeds to notify the Office of Plant Industry Services at (804) 786-3515 or by emailing ReportAPest@vdacs.virginia.gov.
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