Oriental Fruit Flies Found In Orlando

Gary Cooper Citrus, Florida, Vegetables

Fruit Fly TALLAHASSEE – Two Oriental fruit flies have been found in Orange County, Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson has announced.

During routine trapping activities on Friday, June 20, a USDA fruit-fly technician collected two suspect Oriental fruit flies from a fruit fly trap hanging in a sweet orange tree in the Winter Park area of Orlando. The fruit flies were confirmed by Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services’ Division of Plant Industry entomologists on Monday, June 23.

“Based on the Department’s Oriental fruit fly action plan, the detection of two fruit flies within a 3.5 mile radius and within a time period equal to one life cycle of the fly triggers an emergency program,” said Commissioner Bronson. “After confirmation, and working with our federal counterparts at the USDA, we immediately activated an Incident Command System to deal with any potential infestations of this dangerous pest. I am confident this program will be handled as skillfully and successfully as our previous fruit fly eradication efforts,” said Bronson.

The Oriental fruit fly is considered one of the most serious of the world’s fruit fly pests due to its potential economic harm. It attacks more than 100 different fruits, vegetables and nuts, including citrus, apples, guava, mango, tomatoes and peppers. As with other fruit flies, it is not safe to rule out many plants as potential hosts. The fruit flies lay their eggs in the fruits and vegetables. In a few weeks, the larvae or maggots hatch and render the fruits or vegetables inedible.

Emergency program activities involve intensive trapping at an initial distance of 81-square-miles from the find. Approximately 530 traps will be placed to facilitate early detection of other possible infestations in the area.

If additional flies are detected, a limited treatment program will be required. Treatment for the Oriental fruit fly involves breaking the reproductive cycle of the wild flies through male annihilation and ultimately eradicating fly populations. Using a slow moving vehicle, the technique consists of applying a small amount of a thickened spray paste containing a fruit fly attractant (methyl eugenol – a naturally occurring compound) and a small amount of insecticide (Dibrom – also used for mosquito control) to inanimate objects, such as utility poles and street trees. The treatment area is defined by a minimum 1.5 miles radius beyond any infested site. Approximately 600 bait stations are applied per square mile every two weeks for two fruit fly life cycles – a life cycle is approximately 30 days. A life cycle is the time required for a fruit fly to develop from an egg and mature into an adult fly. This is the most environmentally friendly and least intrusive fruit fly eradication strategy available.

Twenty-four hours prior to the application of any insecticides or other treatment activities, public notification and treatment area maps will be published in local newspapers. Program staff members are currently contacting local officials. Additional public outreach activities will be conducted as more information becomes available.

The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture monitor more than 56,000 fruit fly traps statewide as an early detection network against exotic fruit fly introductions that threaten Florida’s agricultural well being.

Agricultural officials are attempting to determine the source of the fruit that carried these flies into Florida. Based on recent finds, fruits such as mangoes and lychees from the Far East are possible sources of fruit fly introductions. Report any information on the possible origin of these flies to the USDA’s anti-smuggling hotline at 1-800-877-3835.

More information can be found at the Department’s website at http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/enpp/ento/bdorsalis.html or by calling 888-397-1517. A photo of the adult Oriental fruit fly is included.