Florida: Oriental fruit flies found in farmlands near Miami

June 5, 2018 by Jennifer Kay

An invasive and destructive pest has been identified in the farmlands near Miami, Florida agriculture officials said Tuesday.

Three male Oriental flies have been found in traps in south Miami-Dade County since Friday, said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

The state is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to eradicate the flies. They are considered one of the world's most serious agricultural pests because of their potential economic harm.

The Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) lays eggs in more than 430 different fruits, vegetables and nuts. An infestation could be particularly damaging for growers of mangoes, lychees and other tropical fruit crops that were battered by Hurricane Irma in September.

"South Dade County is home to our tropical fruit industry in the state of Florida. It's a $2 billion industry just in Miami-Dade County," Putnam said after making the announcement at a USDA research station.

"The risk is, you would have a quarantine if we find a female or evidence of a breeding population. A quarantine would mean that crops currently being harvested would not be allowed to leave the area, and that would cause economic devastation to these growers who are still recovering from Irma."

To eradicate the , bait is being spread on utility poles, trees and other objects throughout a 1.5-square-mile (4-square-kilometer) area around the traps where the first flies were found. The flies die after feeding on the bait.

Nearby homeowners with fruit trees in their yards also are being asked not to take that fruit off their properties.

Investigators are trying to determine how the flies arrived in the county.

"Unfortunately, the state of Florida is a magnet for pests and disease because of our subtropical climate and the international travel that takes place in and out of our state," Putnam said.

Oriental fruit flies are native to a broad area from Pakistan and India, across southeast Asia and into Malaysia and the Philippines. They have been found in Florida several times since the 1960s. An infestation in 2015 in Miami-Dade County took six months to eradicate.

Explore further: Tiny fly rattling Florida fruit industry 'eradicated'

Related Stories

Tiny fly rattling Florida fruit industry 'eradicated'

February 17, 2016

The Oriental fruit fly, which all but shut down south Florida's $1.6 billion agricultural industry when it was discovered in the state last year, has been "successfully eradicated," authorities said Wednesday.

Fruit flies fear lion feces

May 30, 2018

A new doctoral thesis from Lund University in Sweden shows how fruit flies use their sense of smell and humidity to find food, avoid dehydration and discover the best place to lay their eggs—in overripe marula fruits. Faeces ...

Local Zika cases spread to Miami Beach: reports

August 19, 2016

Miami Beach now has cases of Zika infection that appear to have been locally transmitted, US media reported on Thursday, suggesting that the mosquito-borne virus is spreading in Florida.

Florida probes new Zika case outside Miami

August 9, 2016

Florida is investigating a new case of Zika infection outside the neighborhood in Miami where mosquitoes are believed to have spread the virus to more than a dozen people, officials said Monday.

Recommended for you

Elephants resist cancer by waking a zombie gene

August 14, 2018

An estimated 17 percent of humans worldwide die from cancer, but less than five percent of captive elephants—who also live for about 70 years, and have about 100 times as many potentially cancerous cells as humans—die ...

Models give synthetic biologists a head start

August 14, 2018

Synthetic biologists have the tools to build complex, computer-like DNA circuits that sense or trigger activities in cells, and thanks to scientists at Rice University and the University of Houston they now they have a way ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.