January 24, 2017 – McAllen, TX – The USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine division along with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and the Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation (TCPDMC) are kicking off an aggressive Mexican Fruit Fly outreach program this week in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at 11:30 AM members of the media are invited to interview various USDA, TDA leaders, area growers and community members to talk about the threat of the Mexican Fruit Fly and how the public can help stop this destructive pest.
Date and Time: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 11:30 AM
Location: RV Park, 1325 Dixieland Road, Harlingen, TX 78552
What: Outreach event to announce Mexican Fruit Fly Awareness Month
Activities: demonstrate proper fruit removal and disposal methods; emphasize proximity of residential areas to commercial groves; answer questions
Who: Representatives from USDA, TDA, and local citrus growers
The key messages of the campaign are for residents to remove all fruit from their trees and pick up all fallen fruit on their property. Residents may dispose of the fruit by double bagging it and placing it in their normal trash, or keep the fruit inside their house. However, residents may NOT move fruit, even to a neighbor’s house, if they are in a quarantine area. A quarantine designates a regulated area where host fruit is not allowed to move without specific permits.
Mexican Fruit Fly is an invasive species with no known predators in the United States. It affects over 40 host plants including citrus, guava, mango, avocado, and peach. There are several areas under quarantine for Mexican Fruit Fly across the Rio Grande Valley. The key control mechanisms used to reduce the Mexican Fruit Fly population include surveying, trapping, treatment, sterile insect release, and outreach. An informed and educated public is our best defense against invasive pests.
At the City Commission meeting, the Mayor of the city of McAllen issued a proclamation officially identifying January as Mexican Fruit Fly Awareness Month. The proclamation is a key step in bolstering the public outreach efforts of the Mexican Fruit Fly cooperative eradication program.
For more information on the Mexican Fruit Fly and the threat it poses to Texas agriculture, go to saveourcitrus.org.
Host List for Mexican Fruit Fly, Anastrepha Ludens: