More Mexfly Quarantine Reductions in Texas

Ernie NeffPests

Mexican fruit flies
Photo Credit: Jack Dykinga, USDA

Two Mexican fruit fly (Mexfly) quarantines were removed in Texas in mid-September after three Mexfly life cycles elapsed with no additional detections in the areas. The quarantines were removed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).

Effective Sept. 13, the agencies removed the quarantine in Zapata in Zapata County. On May 11, APHIS had confirmed one Mexfly larva from a grapefruit in a residential area of Zapata, triggering the establishment of a quarantine for the pest. Subsequently, APHIS detected and confirmed three additional larvae and one mated female Mexfly in the regulated area. The quarantine area encompassed approximately 79.8 square miles of Zapata.  

Effective Sept. 14, the agencies removed the quarantine in Laredo in Webb County. On March 3, APHIS had confirmed the quarantine trigger of five adult Mexflies within a 3-mile radius during the period of one life cycle. APHIS later detected and confirmed an additional adult Mexfly and one larva in the regulated area. The quarantine area encompassed approximately 76.6 square miles of Laredo.


APHIS works cooperatively with TDA to eradicate the transient Mexfly populations through various control actions per program protocols.

Mexfly quarantines were previously removed by USDA/APHIS and TDA in Harlingen, Texas, on Aug. 25 and in Lasara, Texas, in late July. The quarantines had been established Feb. 3 in Harlingen and Jan. 21 in Lasara.

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.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

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