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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Fruit Flies

The Fruit Fly Exclusion and Detection Programs protect the health and value of American agricultural resources threatened by the establishment of exotic fruit fly populations. APHIS is concerned with three main types of entry risk associated with exotic fruit flies:

  • “Long-distance” risk associated with the entry into the United States of infested fruit or vegetables from fruit fly infested countries distant from our borders. This includes transiting infested fruit or vegetables entering via the Canadian border.
  • The risk of the northward spread of exotic species into the United States via Mexico. Mexico is an especially high-risk pathway due to the shared border and the large numbers of people migrating from fruit fly infested areas of Central America and Mexico to the United States.
  • “Spread from Canada” concerns the enlargement of the area infested with European cherry fruit fly (ECFF). ECFF is firmly established in four of the New York counties bordering Lake Ontario, and it is continuing its eastward spread in New York. We are also concerned with the westward spread from Ontario Province into Michigan.

Although Medfly and Mexfly are currently the primary focus of APHIS domestic and offshore activities, Bactrocera dorsalis (Oriental fruit fly, OFF) and other species in this genus are serious potential threats to U.S. industry. In the past decade, the increase in detections of OFF in California and Florida demonstrates the potential for establishment of this pest. OFF has spread rapidly through the Near East and Africa and threatens to colonize areas of the western hemisphere as other exotic pests have done over the years from these areas. OFF and three other exotic fruit fly species have become established in Hawaii; Bactrocera latifrons (solanum fruit fly), Zeugodacus cucurbitae (melon fly), Cerititas capitata (Medfly), all of which are a constant threat to the U.S. mainland. The olive fly, Bactrocera oleae, has become established in commercial olive production and ornamental plants in California and threatens virtually all commercial and fruit-bearing ornamental olive plantings.

Pest Information

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. 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.

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Richard Johnson
National Policy Manager

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