Texas Mexfly Quarantine Reduced

Ernie NeffPests


Federal and Texas regulators on Aug. 25 removed the Mexican fruit fly (Mexfly) quarantine area in Harlingen, Texas. Harlingen is in Cameron County.

Dale Murden, a grower and president of Texas Citrus Mutual, said only 550 acres of Texas citrus remain under quarantine out of a state total of approximately 27,000 acres of citrus. “So we are happy about that,” he stated.

The majority of Texas growers are using a bait spray to prevent further quarantine issues, according to Murden. “The problem areas (for Mexfly) are unharvested and minimally cared for groves along with untreated dooryard trees,” said Murden. “Mexican exports into the U.S. of all fruit that are hosts to Mexfly are a continued issue.”

The quarantine was established Feb. 3 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). The agencies had restricted interstate movement of regulated articles from the area to prevent the spread of the pest to non-infested areas of the United States. The action was necessary after APHIS confirmed multiple detections of adult Mexflies and Mexfly larval sites.

Since that time, APHIS has worked cooperatively with TDA to eradicate the transient pest population through various control actions per program protocols. At this time, APHIS and TDA have released 162 square miles from the regulated area, of which 2,292 acres consist of commercial citrus.

APHIS and TDA removed the quarantine area in Harlingen after three Mexfly life cycles elapsed with no additional detections in this area. APHIS continues to work cooperatively with TDA to eradicate the remaining transient Mexfly population in the quarantined area of Brownsville in Cameron County.

In late July, APHIS and TDA removed the Mexfly quarantine in Lasara, Texas. Learn more about that earlier action here.

In other Texas citrus news, Murden on Sept. 14 reported, “We expect to start our orange season next week and grapefruit thereafter.”

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large