Oriental Fruit Flies Found in Florida

Jim Rogers Florida, Pests

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has confirmed the presence of Oriental fruit flies, Bactrocera dorsalis, in Pinellas County.

Oriental Fruit Flies
Oriental fruit fly (Photograph by Scott Bauer, USDA)

Two male flies were captured during routine trapping in a methyl eugenol-baited fruit fly detection trap in St. Petersburg on May 17. Expanded intensified delimitation trapping over the 80-square-mile surrounding area resulted in two additional males being captured in traps approximately 3 miles away June 14–16.

A quarantine has been established in the St. Petersburg area prohibiting the movement of fruit, vegetables and nuts without a compliance agreement from FDACS.

“This detection highlights the importance of our world-class exotic pest surveillance system,” said FDACS Division of Plant Industry Director Trevor Smith. “Our staff, working closely with our federal partners, has begun a treatment program to eradicate this destructive pest.”

Treatments are being conducted in a 1.5-square-mile area around the fly detections. The treatments consist of male annihilation technique (MAT), foliar spot treatment, soil drench treatment and fruit removal. MAT treatment uses a bait and insecticide mixture, killing the flies when they feed on the bait. Treatments are applied for a period of two life cycles of the fly (approximately 60 days) past the date of the last detection. Fruit removal is necessary when larvae is found in infested fruits or vegetables.

The Oriental fruit fly has been trapped several times in Florida since 1964 and each time has been successfully eradicated. This species is considered one of the most serious of the world’s fruit fly pests due to its potential economic harm. It attacks more than 436 different fruits, vegetables and nuts, including citrus. Oriental fruit flies lay their eggs in host fruits and vegetables. In a few days, the eggs hatch and maggots render the produce inedible.

When a single male fly is detected, no control measures are needed. Single Oriental fruit flies have been found in Florida on numerous earlier occasions, most recently in August 2021 in Seminole County. The last eradication program for Oriental fruit fly took place in Miami-Dade County from June 2018 to October 2018.

More information about the flies and efforts to control them can be obtained here or by calling the Division of Plant Industry Helpline at 888-397-1517.

Source: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

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