An invasive fruit fly has been detected in the Rio Grande Valley, according to a news release from the United States Department of Agriculture. The fruit fly is especially dangerous to grapefruits and oranges, the news release states.
A federal quarantine is in place in McAllen to restrict the movement of produce that may have been infected. The USDA said while commercial citrus growers are taking steps to ensure their fruit can be moved pest-free, citrus in residential areas may put the industry at risk.
People can help by notifying the USDA if they see a fruit fly trap on their property that has been damaged or fallen. They are asked to immediately contact their local USDA office at (956) 632-5300 (McAllen) or (956) 421-4041 (Harlingen).
Here are the ways residents can help:
>> Don’t move or mail fruit from residential citrus trees in the quarantine area (McAllen).
>> Remove all citrus fruit as soon as it ripens.
>> Don’t leave any ripe fruit hanging on trees or laying on the ground.
>> Double bag any fruit not eaten or used and properly dispose of it in a trash bin.
>> Don’t compost any fruit (or vegetables) from the quarantine area.
If residents want to move or mail commercially grown citrus, please contact the USDA. Some fruit may not be allowed to move outside of the area.
This message is also important for Winter Texans who are heading back north or others who are planning to travel outside of the Valley, the news release states.
For more information, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/hungrypests/mff.