What to do if unsolicited seeds end up in your mailbox

Keep an eye on your mailbox.

Hundreds of Americans across the country are receiving unsolicited packages from China and parts of the Middle East.

Many of these packages are labeled as jewelry or other small items. But instead of opening and finding a necklace or earrings, small bags of seeds are discovered inside.

Ken Eck, an educator at the Purdue Extension Office of Dubois County, says a Huntingburg resident received a mystery package late last week.

“They were from China and Uzbekistan and they were both sent to the same person. One was labeled as earrings and the other one was labeled as electronic components. But inside was just a very small package of seeds,” he says.

Although many are curious to know what type of seeds they are, Eck says planting them could have devastating effects on the environment.

“It’s just not safe to do and it can cause a major environmental and agricultural problem if somebody does let some of these seeds loose. This is a very serious threat for Indiana for environmental, forestry, and for row crops. We just don’t want to have another problem starting in this already interesting year of 2020,” Eck says.

Eck explains what not to do if these seeds come to your mailbox.

“Don’t throw them in the garbage because you may have a tear in their garbage bag when it’s picked up. Those seeds can be spread and then we have a new invasive species that will cost millions of dollars to the fight in Indiana and in Dubois County. So we don’t really want them to dispose of them. We would like to have them so we can trace them identify them, and then properly dispose of them” he says.

But there are three options to safely get rid of these seeds.

The first option is mailing them to the USDA APHIS PPQ State Plant Health Director:

Nick Johnson

3059 North Morton Street

Franklin, IN 46131

The second option is calling the Indiana DNR Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology at (866)-663-9684.

If these options don’t work, Eck also says you can drop them off at the Purdue Extension Office of Dubois County at 1482 Executive Boulevard, Suite A on the East side of Jasper.

For more information, you can either call the local extension office at (812)-482-1782 or visit extension.purdue.edu.

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