LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) – The United States Department of Agriculture has announced the Mexican fruit fly has been found in Laredo. This insect could endanger citrus crops along the border. The Mexican fruit fly is an invasive pest not typically found in the United States. It’s one of the world’s most destructive insects attacking more than 40 fruits and vegetables. Not only could this affect growers, but buyers and consumers as well. Enedino Mireles has several produce stand in south Texas and he’s familiar with the effects of the Mexican fruit fly. “In the valley they’ve had them for two years and now it has started in Laredo”, said Mireles.
United States Department of Agriculture’s animal plant health inspection service and plant protection and quarantine division in cooperation with the Texas Department of Agriculture. Has detected two adult flies and one larva west of martin high school and two larva detections in the north meadow area around the cemetery. USDA representatives are inspecting those areas to prevent the spread. Mireles has recently been approached by USDA on how to improve his stand.”They are requiring me to put fabric to cover the mangoes, the avocado and its other variety of vegetables that require it”, said Mireles. While this pest poses no health hazard to humans or dogs, but Mireles worries his business could suffer. “The produce lose visibility, then I have to lower my prices so I can sale them faster”, said Mireles.
The fruit fly lays eggs inside fruits, which turn into maggots that make their way into the ground affecting harvest, causing farmer to use more pesticides and increasing produce cost. The USDA advises the public on how to help prevent the spread.
Don’t bring or mail fruit, vegetables or plants to Texas unless cleared by agriculture inspectors Cooperate with quarantine restrictions, allow agriculture works to inspect your property. Never remove fresh produce from under Mexican fruit fly quarantine. As the USDA continues to inspect Mireles hopes the Mexcain fruit flies stay away from Laredo.
“I don’t know how it will affect me, I really don’t know. I hope it doesn’t”, said Mireles. Again this pest only harms fruits and vegetables, but in Texas the Mexican fruit fly presents the biggest threat to citrus. They are conducting surveys which involve visual inspection of trees and setting up and monitoring traps but this can only be done with the consent of the property owner, all inspectors should have a credential identifying them as a USDA employee.