Jun 28, 2022
Oriental fruit fly findings trigger Florida quarantine

Florida agriculture officials have established a quarantine zone in the St. Petersburg area after several Oriental fruit flies were found in Pinellas County in recent months.

The quarantine covers residential and commercial (nurseries) areas, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The department established the quarantine June 23 after several Oriental fruit fly findings. Two flies were reported on May 17 through routine trapping. Two more flies were discovered June 14 and June 16, and a mated female was captured on June 22.

Photo: Gary Steck/FDACS

The pest infests more than 430 fruits, vegetables and nuts, laying eggs in the hosts, making them unmarketable, according to the department. The FDACS and U.S. Department of agriculture are working to eradicate the pest, which was first found in the state in 1964, and most recently in Seminole County in August 2021. There are more than 56,000 fruit fly traps throughout the state to detect the pests.

Residents in the quarantine zone are being told not to move fresh fruits or vegetables off their property and to pick up, double-bag and seal any fallen produce on their property.

Nursey and stock dealers need to review and sign a compliance agreement, available by contacting 1-888-397-1517.

The state is using a bait/insecticide mixture applied to utility poles, trees and other objects out of the normal reach of people and pets. Treatments are applied for about 60 days (two life cycles). Foliar spot treatment uses Spinosad to spot treat host trees in the area, according to the FDACS. Soil drench is used under host trees with fruit known or suspected to be infested with larvae, pupae or a mated female fruit fly.

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