The quarantine area for on citrus trees in the Rio Grande Valley is being extended. More than 400 square miles in Cameron and Willacy counties combined are under quarantine because of the Mexican fruit fly. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a quarantine area is triggered when five flies are found within a three mile radius.
Mexican Fruit Fly
The Mexican fruit fly is native to southern and central Mexico. Each year, the pest enters the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s 27,000 acres of commercial citrus crops from south of the border and attacks more than 40 different kinds of fruits. Damage occurs when the female fly lays eggs in the fruit, which then hatch into larvae, making the fruit unmarketable.
The fly is also a threat to surrounding citrus-producing states, including California, Arizona, Louisiana and Florida. Economic losses due to infestation not only are measured in damaged crops, but also in costs associated with eradication and shipping protocols aimed at consumer protection.
USDA spokespeople have stated that this week, there are new detentions of the Mexican fruit fly in the Valley.
Dale Murden, president of the Texas Citrus Mutual, told krgv.com that it’s really bad news for growers, costing them thousands of dollars.