Texas Mexfly Quarantine Area Reduced

Josh McGillPests, Regulation, Texas

Federal and state agriculture officials on Aug. 18 released portions of the Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas Mexican fruit fly (Mexfly) quarantine area. The action was taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) after three Mexfly life-cycles elapsed with no additional detections in these areas.


As a result of the release of these areas, which totaled 57.46 square miles, the Brownsville Mexfly quarantine area now encompasses 96.28 square miles. The amount of commercial citrus in the quarantine area has not changed and remains at 321.9 acres.

APHIS and TDA established the original Cameron County quarantine following the confirmed detections, between Jan. 14 and Feb. 3, 2020, of 80 adult Mexflies and 14 larval sites. The detections were in citrus from various residential areas and two commercial groves in Cameron County, Texas. Subsequently, between Feb. 4 and Feb. 11, 2020, APHIS confirmed an additional 17 Mexfly adults and 16 larval detections. APHIS and TDA responded to these additional confirmed detections by expanding the quarantine in Cameron County. They also restricted interstate movement of regulated articles from this area to prevent the spread of Mexfly to non-infested areas of the United States.

Mexfly is a serious pest of citrus and other fruits in Mexico and Central America. Its natural distribution includes the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Learn more here about the pest from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

APHIS has worked cooperatively with TDA to eradicate the transient Mexfly population through various control actions per program protocols. An APHIS website contains a description of all the current federal fruit fly quarantine areas.

More information about the Mexfly quarantine area can be obtained from APHIS Fruit Fly National Policy Manager Richard Johnson at 301-851-2109.


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