Exotic Fruit Fly Risks
Fruit flies in the family Tephritidae are among the most destructive, feared and well-publicized pests of fruits and vegetables around the world. The genera Anastrepha, Bactrocera, and Ceratitis pose the greatest risk to U.S. agriculture and are the focus of this strategic plan. Tephritid fruit flies spend their larval stages feeding and growing in over 400 host plants. Introduction of these pest species into the United States causes economic losses from destruction and spoiling of host commodities by larvae, costs associated with implementing control measures, and loss of market share due to restrictions on shipment of host commodities. The extensive damage and wide host range of tephritid fruit flies become obstacles to agricultural diversification and trade when pest fruit fly species become established in these areas.
California and Florida are at highest risk from exotic fruit fly establishment. This conclusion is based on the historical record of frequent outbreaks and the costs to eradicate them, the high approach rate of fruit fly host material at the major ports of entry coinciding with the climatic conditions favorable to establishments of reproducing populations, public opposition to chemical control measures, and the availability of hosts. The market value of exotic fruit fly host commodities totaled about $7.2 billion in the United States in 2002, with approximately $5.1 billion of that grown in California and $1.8 billion in Florida.
APHIS responds to exotic fruit fly risks with an integrated system that incorporates surveillance activities, fruit fly control programs, and regulatory actions. This multi-tactical approach is the product of close collaboration and consultation between APHIS and its exotic fruit fly program cooperators and stakeholders.
States and other countries play a significant role in funding and implementing the fruit fly safeguarding system. APHIS has cooperative agreements with States to share resources and conduct detection programs, medfly and mexfly preventative releases, and control programs.