Brownsville Mexfly Quarantine Removed in Texas

Josh McGillPests, Regulation, Texas

Federal and state agriculture officials on Nov. 14 removed the Mexican fruit fly (Mexfly) quarantine in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas. The quarantine was removed after three generations elapsed with no additional detections in the area. The action was taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).


This action releases the final 42.91 square miles of the Brownsville Mexfly quarantine, which contained no commercial citrus acreage.

APHIS and TDA established the original Harlingen-Brownsville, Cameron County quarantine following the confirmed detections, between Jan. 14 and Feb. 3, 2020, of 79 adult Mexflies and 14 Mexfly larval sites in citrus from various residential areas and 12 commercial groves in Cameron County, Texas. Subsequently, between Feb. 4 and Feb.11, 2020, APHIS confirmed additional detections of 16 Mexfly adults and 16 larval sites in this area.

APHIS and TDA responded to these confirmed detections by expanding the quarantine in Cameron County and restricting interstate movement of regulated articles from this area to prevent the spread of Mexfly to non-infested areas of the United States. APHIS 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. Additional information about the Mexfly quarantine area may be obtained from APHIS Fruit Fly National Policy Manager Richard Johnson at 301-851-2109.

Mexfly is a serious pest of fruit crops. It is especially damaging to citrus, mango and peaches, and has a strong affinity for grapefruit. Mexflies are abundant breeders. A single female may lay up to 1,500 eggs in her lifetime. In addition to Texas, Mexflies have been found in Arizona, Southern California and Florida.


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