Texas Mexfly Quarantine Expanded

Josh McGill Pests, Regulation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) expanded the Mexican fruit fly (Mexfly) quarantine in Harlingen, Cameron County, Texas. This expansion follows confirmed detections from Feb. 3 to Feb. 28 of 15 Mexfly adults in citrus at various residential sites.

Mexican fruit fly
(Photo by Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,

As a result of the detections, the Harlingen quarantine increased from 150 square miles to 170.35 square miles. The affected commercial citrus acreage increased from 1,619 acres to 1,770 acres.

APHIS and TDA established the original Cameron County quarantine following the confirmed detections of 80 adult Mexflies and 14 Mexfly larval sites in citrus from various residential areas and two commercial groves between Jan. 14 and Feb. 3, 2020.

According to USDA, the adult Mexfly is larger than a house fly. The Mexfly’s body is a pale orange yellow with two to three whitish stripes along the thorax. The wings are clear with several yellow and brown stripes. The female is distinguished by a long and slender ovipositor, which is used to deposit eggs beneath the skin of the host fruit. Larvae within host fruit are legless, white to yellowish-white and grow to a length of 2/5 inches.

APHIS works cooperatively with TDA to eradicate transient Mexfly populations. The agencies accomplish that through various control actions and by applying safeguarding measures and restrictions on the interstate movement or entry into foreign trade of regulated articles from these areas.

See a description of all current federal fruit fly quarantine areas.

Additional information about the Mexfly quarantine area can be obtained from Fruit Fly National Policy Manager Richard Johnson at 301-851-2109 or by email.


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