The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has positively identified the presence of three Oriental fruit flies, Bactrocera dorsalis, in south Miami-Dade County. The initial fly was discovered during routine trapping, and additional flies were discovered during expanded trapping activities. The department, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, monitors more than 56,000 fruit fly traps statewide as an early-detection network against exotic fruit fly introductions that threaten Florida’s agriculture industry.
“We successfully eradicated this invasive pest, protecting Florida’s $120 billion agriculture industry, three years ago, and together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture we’ll implement an aggressive eradication program to do so again,” said Agriculture Commissioner Adam H. Putnam.
“I have already been in touch with USDA and will be working to make sure the federal government is ready to respond if the latest discovery of oriental fruit flies is declared a significant threat to U.S. agriculture and commerce,” said United States Senator Marco Rubio.
The Oriental fruit fly has been trapped several times in Florida since 1964 with the most recent time being in August 2015, and each time it has been successfully eradicated. This species is considered one of the most serious of the world’s fruit fly pests due to its potential economic harm. It attacks more than 400 different fruits, vegetables and nuts, including avocado, fig, grapefruit, guava, loquat, mango, roseapple, papaya, peach, persimmon, Suriname cherry and white sapote. The fruit flies lay their eggs in host fruits and vegetables.
To eradicate this pest, treatment is being conducted in a 1.5-square-mile area around the fly detections. This treatment consists of attracting male flies to bait which consists of an attractant, an insecticide and a thickening agent. The flies are killed when they feed on the bait. The mixture is applied every other week to the upper portion of utility poles, trees and inanimate objects for a period of two life cycles of the fly (approximately 60 days) past the date of the last detection. A third life cycle (approximately 30 days) after the treatment is complete, and no additional fly has been detected, is also required to declare eradication.
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