Citrus is a part of the culture.
Dooryard citrus is a historic part of the landscape. Trees are passed down through generations along with culinary and medicinal recipes. Even cultivation traditions are handed down from grandfather to granddaughter.
The number one priority is to protect American agriculture and natural resources. Providing safe food to consumers and ensuring crop safety for growers is a critical part of the safeguarding continuum. The job becomes more difficult as more pests are introduced along more pathways.
The Enemy, Anastrepha Ludens
Mexican Fruit Fly is an invasive species with no natural enemies in the United States. Slightly bigger than a housefly, the Mexican Fruit Fly attacks over 40 different fruits and nuts and flies up to 10 miles (25 km). It has distinctive coloring and life span of approximately 28 days.
The Mexican Fruit Fly poses an imminent threat to commercial citrus production and residential citrus. There are over 40 hosts fruits including peaches, apples, guava, and mangoes, that may become its victims. Our eradication program includes surveying trees, removing fruit, trapping flies, treating host trees, and Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). It is a coordinated effort between the USDA and the Texas Department of Agriculture and requires the cooperation of the citrus industry, our elected leaders, business leaders and our community.
"They tried to eradicate it, but they found out they couldn't do it because the fly continued to move in from Mexico, right across the river,"
Eradication is not an easy task.
What Can We Do
Through our authority to regulate specific entities, we can impress upon landscapers, nurseries, food vendors, the importance of compliance with the quarantines and mitigation strategies across the food production continuum.
We must get the word out to consumers, business owners, gardeners, hobbyists, chefs, teachers, parents and travelers about the threat that Mexican Fruit Fly poses. We must leverage the resources of every partner to ensure that every pathway is identified and outreach tactic implemented to address that pathway.