The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture have quarantined 81 square miles near Encino, Texas, because of a Mexican fruit fly find.


Inspectors in Brooks County west of Corpus Christi trapped a mated female on a residential property in late April.


That triggered the quarantine, which restricts movement of host material from the area. The nearest commercial production of a host plant is 32 miles away.


Inspectors have hung traps as part of a delimiting survey radiating out from the find. They also are treating all host plants within 500 meters of the find with Spinosad at seven to 10-day intervals.


Once spraying is completed, the ag departments will aerially release sterilized male Mexican fruit flies at a rate of 500 per acre per week. The theory is the sterilized males will meet with fertile females, resulting in no eggs.


The releases will be conducted for at least two fly life cycles.

The Mexican fruit fly can infest more than 50 different plant species, including many commercial crops. Among them are stone fruit, citrus and avocado.

For more information on the Mexican fruit fly, visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/pubs/invasive/mmflycar.pdf or http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/PDEP/target_pest_disease_profiles/mexican_ff_profile.html.