Mexfly Quarantine Reduced in Texas

Ernie NeffPests


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) in late July removed the Mexican fruit fly (Mexfly) quarantine area in Lasara, Texas. Lasara is in Willacy County. The quarantine in Lasara had been established in January.

The agencies had restricted interstate movement of regulated articles from the area to prevent the spread of Mexfly to non-infested areas of the United States. The action was necessary after APHIS confirmed six adult Mexflies from a residential sour orange tree on Jan. 21.  Since that time, APHIS has worked cooperatively with TDA to eradicate the transient Mexfly population through various control actions. APHIS removed the quarantine area after three Mexfly life cycles elapsed with no additional detections in the area.

Part of the Texas citrus-growing region in the Lower Rio Grande Valley remains under Mexfly quarantine. “The remaining quarantine is located in the Cameron County area with approximately 394 acres in what APHIS calls a core,” said Dale Murden, president of Texas Citrus Mutual and a citrus grower. He added there are 3,481 total acres in the quarantine area. “The core is what hurts, though,” he said. “This (the remaining quarantine) should be lifted in a few weeks, barring no finds.”

Murden this spring discussed several issues that Texas growers were dealing with, including Mexican fruit flies, market disruptions from COVID-19, weather and HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids. See that report.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) describes the Mexican fruit fly (Anastrepha ludens) as a very serious pest of various fruits, particularly citrus and mango, in Mexico and Central America. Its natural distribution includes the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and it is a frequent invader in southern California and Arizona. Mexican fruit fly represents a particular threat to Florida because of its special affinity for grapefruit. See a UF/IFAS report on Mexfly.

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large