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USDA Begins Surveying and Trapping for Mexican Fruit Flies in Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Public can help eradicate pest

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to combat the Mexican fruit fly ( Anastrepha ludens) in Cameron and Willacy Counties in Texas. Following the detection of this pest in Cameron and Willacy Counties in January 2020, APHIS put quarantines in place to contain this fruit fly and is conducting surveys to find and treat infestations.

Mexican fruit fly is one of the world’s most destructive invasive pests, attacking more than 40 different kinds of fruits and vegetables. This invasive fruit fly does not harm humans or animals but it poses a serious threat to the Texas citrus industry. In 2018, the Texas citrus industry supported nearly 6,000 jobs and accounted for more than $465 million in statewide revenue.

APHIS needs the public’s help to limit this invasive fruit fly’s spread. We are asking residents living or working within Mexican fruit fly quarantine areas to cooperate with survey teams and give them access to your property. Surveyors will have official credentials identifying them as U.S. Department of Agriculture or TDA employees. With the residents’ permission, they will inspect fruit trees on residential properties in quarantine zones and hang traps. If APHIS or TDA detect Mexican fruit flies, they will work with residents and business owners to eradicate the pest from infested properties.

Mexican fruit flies are drawn to ripening fruit. To keep this pest off your property:

  1. Remove all citrus fruit, including immature fruit and fruit that has fallen to the ground, from your

property as soon as possible.

  1. Eat the fruit or double bag it and put it in the trash.
  2. Don’t compost fruit or vegetables from the quarantined areas.
  3. Don’t move or mail homegrown fruit outside of the quarantined areas.
  4. Declare agricultural products—including fruit—to U.S. Customs and Border Protection before

entering the United States from another country.

If you live in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and think you might have Mexican fruit flies on your property, please call APHIS at 956-421-4041. With your help, we can protect local agriculture and stop the spread of this destructive pest. 

For more information on the Mexican fruit fly and other invasive pests, visit Hungry Pests. Recognizing the importance of stopping the spread of invasive pests, the United Nations has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health.

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