Three U.S. Department of Agriculture quarantines have been established in south Texas to fight the spread of Mexican fruit fly.
USDA quarantines were instituted in San Perlita, in Texas’ Willacy County; Harlingen, in Cameron County; and Mercedes and Donna in Hidalgo County, said Tanya Espinosa, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Live fruit flies were found in seven locations in Hidalgo County, one in San Perlita and one in Harlingen.
“While 98% of commercial citrus has been harvested, approximately 65 acres within the quarantine area have not been harvested,” Espinosa said May 24.
The Texas Department of Agriculture has instituted a parallel quarantine, Espinosa said.
Control measures under the quarantine include delimiting trapping, treatments and the release of sterile insects, she said.
Every year, Mexican fruit flies enter the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s 27,000 acres of commercial citrus crops, attacking more than 40 different kinds of fruits, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.
The flies also are a threat to other citrus-producing states, including California, Arizona, Louisiana and Florida, according to the department.