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Oriental Fruit Fly Pinellas County


Let's hope this doesn't turn out to be another invasive Asian disaster.

Jun 24, 2022
Tallahassee, Fla. - The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has positively identified the presence of Oriental fruit flies, Bactrocera dorsalis, in Pinellas County. A quarantine has been established in the St. Petersburg area prohibiting the movement of fruit, vegetables, and nuts without a compliance agreement from the department.

“This detection highlights the importance of our world class exotic pest surveillance system,” said FDACS Division of Plant Industry Director, Dr. Trevor Smith. “Our staff, working closely with our federal partners, has begun a treatment program to eradicate this destructive pest.”

The initial flies were discovered during routine trapping and additional flies were discovered during expanded trapping activities. State and federal agriculture inspectors monitor more than 56,000 fruit fly traps statewide as an early detection network against exotic fruit fly introductions that threaten Florida’s agricultural well-being.

The Oriental fruit fly has been trapped several times in Florida since 1964 and each time has been successfully eradicated.  This species is considered one of the most serious of the world’s fruit fly pests due to its potential economic harm.  It attacks more than 436 different fruits, vegetables and nuts, including fig, loquat, mango, orange, peach, plum, sapote, soursop, Surinam cherry, tangerine, tropical almond and guava.  The fruit flies lay their eggs in host fruits and vegetables.  In a few days, the eggs hatch and maggots render the fruits or vegetables inedible.

Treatments are being conducted in a 1.5-square-mile area around the fly detections. The treatments consist of male annihilation technique (MAT), foliar spot treatment, soil drench treatment and fruit removal. MAT treatment uses a bait and insecticide mixture, killing the flies when they feed on the bait. It may be applied weekly to the upper portion of utility poles, trees and other inanimate objects out of the normal reach of people and pets. Treatments are applied for a period of two life cycles of the fly (approximately 60 days) past the date of the last detection. Foliar spot treatment uses Spinosad, an insecticide derived from naturally occurring soil organisms and commonly used by organic growers, to spot treat host trees in the area. Soil drench is used on the soil under host trees with fruit known or suspected to be infested with larvae, pupae or a mated female fruit fly. Fruit removal is necessary when larvae is found in infested fruits or vegetables. Fruit from host trees is removed, placed in double bags and properly disposed so flies have no host material to lay eggs.

State and federal agencies will work with local governments and community organizations to keep the public informed.  More information can be found at the department’s website at, or by calling the Division of Plant Industry Helpline at 1-888-397-1517.


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