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Mysterious seeds in your mail - potential invasive species, experts warn

People around the country have been getting strange seeds in small packages marked saying they're from China. Extension services and the USDA warn people not to plant the seeds and not to throw them away.

Posted: Aug 11, 2020 3:14 AM
Updated: Aug 11, 2020 3:30 PM

SALTILLO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Mysterious seeds are appearing in people’s mailboxes. One woman in Saltillo said she got a pack of them at her home address. She’s not the only one.

It seems like a surprise gift. Mysterious seeds in your mailbox. However, the problem is we don’t know what plants they’ll grow into.

The seeds showed up in Dawn Ihle‘s mailbox. She said they appeared to be from China.

“When you opened it, it was just a pack of seeds. There wasn’t any indication of what kind they were, or anything like that, so because of that, it kind of scared me.”

“When you’re looking at it, it has your name, but up at the right-hand corner where it’s supposed to be, you know, the return address, it’s all in Chinese,” she said.

She said hardly noticed the strange package at first.

“That’s why it got lost in the mail, because it’s just a little bitty packet, I mean about the size of your hand.”

Dr. Bill Burdine of the Mississippi State University Extension Service said the packages started appearing in mailboxes a couple weeks ago.

“These packages are being delivered through UPS and FedEx to homes all across the United States.’

He said right now, The Mississippi Department of Agriculture does not know what all the types of seeds are yet. They are asking people not to plant them or throw them away.

Burdine said the seeds could be a plant that could be a harmful invasive species. The seeds may be toxic and could poison the soil and crops. He said these are just a few of the possibilities. He said people should not throw them away because at the landfill, the seeds will almost surely take root and start growing anyway.

“Do not do anything with the seeds other than call the Mississippi Department of Agriculture or the local county extension office. Bring those to our office, and we’ll have an inspector pick them up.”

Burdine said people need to be cautious.

“There is the potential this could be bioterrorism. We don’t think it is, but we need to rule that out first.”

He added the extension service believes it’s a “brushing attempt”, which is when a company sends an item to a receiver and posts fake positive reviews online on behalf of the customer.

Ihle said tomorrow, an inspector for Lee County will come by and pick the seeds up off her porch. She added she is waiting to hear back about what the seeds are.

“I was just concerned, I wanted to let my neighbors and my community know what to look for,” she said.

According to their website, the USDA has identified 14 types of the strange seeds as of July 29th. Some of them include cabbage, morning glory, mint, sage, and hibiscus.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 291891

Reported Deaths: 6605
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19515228
Hinds18611385
Harrison16431275
Rankin12543261
Jackson12419216
Lee9641160
Madison9378194
Jones7857145
Forrest7094136
Lauderdale6760225
Lowndes5998137
Lamar581180
Lafayette5698113
Washington5135128
Bolivar4580120
Oktibbeha438691
Panola424992
Warren4101113
Pearl River4083128
Pontotoc406668
Marshall398392
Monroe3977126
Union392173
Neshoba3758166
Lincoln3447100
Hancock338673
Leflore3349118
Sunflower316685
Tate299874
Pike298293
Scott291867
Alcorn289660
Itawamba288571
Yazoo283262
Tippah275465
Copiah273957
Coahoma272666
Simpson270778
Prentiss267658
Leake251370
Wayne250540
Marion249878
Covington247178
Grenada244676
Adams232877
George229845
Newton223151
Winston220274
Tishomingo211465
Jasper211244
Attala205969
Chickasaw200550
Holmes181470
Clay177848
Stone171129
Tallahatchie169239
Clarke168271
Calhoun155527
Smith151531
Yalobusha142236
Greene126533
Walthall123340
Noxubee122629
Perry120934
Montgomery120537
Lawrence119021
Carroll117223
Amite110732
Webster109229
Jefferson Davis99931
Tunica98023
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91326
Kemper89422
Quitman76614
Franklin75419
Choctaw69416
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 490220

Reported Deaths: 9744
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson704661342
Mobile35810721
Madison32203443
Tuscaloosa23961409
Montgomery22417489
Shelby21773211
Baldwin19635272
Lee14883147
Morgan13571248
Etowah13118312
Calhoun13090283
Marshall11212203
Houston10036257
Limestone9321133
Elmore9313179
Cullman8864177
St. Clair8771220
Lauderdale8570210
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7450162
Walker6492249
Jackson6466102
Autauga617285
Blount6072125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5229100
Dale4614106
Russell401431
Franklin397675
Covington3948105
Chilton383196
Escambia376670
Tallapoosa3559139
Clarke342749
Dallas3396140
Chambers3393103
Pike292771
Lawrence281284
Marion280793
Winston245665
Bibb243759
Marengo238554
Geneva238468
Pickens223554
Barbour209550
Hale208464
Fayette199356
Butler195165
Henry182341
Cherokee176338
Monroe165638
Randolph162740
Washington156233
Crenshaw143353
Clay143254
Macon140543
Cleburne136539
Lamar131632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120825
Bullock116534
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98231
Coosa86823
Greene86732
Choctaw54723
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