Devastating fruit fly find in Miami-Dade
by Chip Carter | November 21, 2010
Florida authorities announced Nov. 15 that a peach fruit fly — Bactrocera
zonata — was found earlier this month during routine surveillance activities in
Miami-Dade County. It is the first time the species has been found in the
The peach fruit fly is considered particularly devastating because it attacks
and compromises a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts, such as
mangos, guavas, citrus, eggplants, tomatoes, apples, peaches, melons,
loquats, almonds and figs. Flies lay eggs in the fruits and vegetables; in a few
days, those eggs hatch, and maggots render the fruits or vegetables inedible.
"This is a disturbing find because of the extreme risks associated with exotic
fruit fly infestations," Charles Bronson, Florida commissioner of the Florida
Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, said in a Nov. 15 press
release. “However, it is a clear indication that our fruit fly detection and
monitoring program is working well, and fortunately, we have developed
effective emergency response plans that in most cases allow us to quickly
eradicate these dangerous pests. The state, along with our federal partner, the
U.S. Department of Agriculture, is pouring all available resources into this find
in Miami-Dade County.”
FDACS and the USDA have launched an intensified trapping program in an
81-square-mile area surrounding the initial find.
“Over 400 traps have been placed and are being serviced on a daily basis for
one week,” Denise Feiber, public information director of the department
Division of Plant Industry, told The Produce News. “If more peach fruit flies are
found in Miami-Dade County, an eradication program may be necessary. It
will be conducted the same as certain other Bactrocera species — a bait-
insecticide mixture applied to telephone poles. As with all economically
important exotic fruit flies, we will use all available resources to ensure
detection and, if necessary, eradication.”
California has had numerous outbreaks — most recently this August — of the
peach fruit fly since it was first found in that state in 1984, but a breeding
population has not established.
This is the third species of exotic fruit fly to be found in Florida this year. In
June, a full-scale, three-month eradication program was conducted in Palm
Beach County after several Mediterranean fruit flies were trapped there. In
August, a pair of Oriental fruit flies was found in a trap in Pinellas County.
Trapping has continued since, but no more flies have been found.