By Vicky Boyd
During routine trapping in Boca Raton, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors found a trap containing a Mediterranean fruit fly.
Since the initial find, more than 2,000 additional traps were placed as part of a delimiting survey to determine the extent of the infestation.
As of June 15, six traps had picked up a total of 27 Medflies in the residential area of Boca Raton, says Denise Feiber, FDACS spokeswoman.
The flies have been found in traps on mango, loquat and sour orange trees.
Inspectors also have cut hundreds of pieces of fruit and found 11 larvae, she says.
The state is requiring homeowners on the positive properties to strip fruit from host trees, Feiber says.
To address the current Medfly outbreak, inspectors will hang additional traps within an 81-square-mile area around each positive find.
Once the extent of the infestation is known, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will establish a quarantine.
The trap finds mark the first time the Medfly has been found in the state since a nine-county eradication program in 1997 and 1998.
Inspectors will treat the foliage of host plants found on the positive properties with an organic formulation of spinosad, Feiber says.
A drench of diazinon insecticide will be applied to the soil.
Once those treatments are complete, the state will work with the USDA to release thousands of sterile male fruit flies over the area.
The goal is to inundate the area with enough sterile male flies that the females will have a hard time finding fertile males with which to mate.
Eventually the population dies out from a lack of reproduction.
The sterile release will be conducted for at least three Medfly lifecycles after the last trap find of a wild fly.
The joint state-federal fruit fly program monitors more than 56,000 traps across Florida. Inspectors check them every 21 days and in some high-risk areas, every 14 days.
The finds in Boca Raton were detected during this monitoring.
For more information on Medflies, visit the FDACS Exotic Fruit Fly Web page.