The Mexican Fruit Fly

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BACKGROUNDfly

The Mexican fruit fly, commonly known as Mexfly, is an invasive pest that threatens the agricultural production of more than 50 fruit types in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) of Texas and across the United States. The Mexican fruit fly was first found in Central Mexico in 1863, and by the early 1950s flies were found along the California-Mexico border. The pest has since been detected in Arizona, California and Texas. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that losses caused by Mexfly establishment could cost an estimated $1.44 billion over a 5 year period of time. Mexfly migrates to the RGV from unmanaged, highly infested groves near the border in Mexico. As a result, the Texas citrus industry has been subject to one or more quarantines on an annual basis for over 80 years. In spite of this, the RGV is a world-renowned powerhouse of quality citrus production, contributing more than $140 million to the State’s economy on an annual basis.

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ABOUT THE MEXICAN FRUIT FLY

Female fruit flies lay their eggs in ripening fruit. The eggs hatch into larvae that eat the flesh of the fruit, causing it to rot. Fruit that has been attacked may be unfit to eat. Larvae feed while tunneling through the interior of infested fruits. Microscopic organisms invade these injured areas causing internal decay of the fleshy portions of the fruit.

WHAT IS CURRENTLY BEING DONE? DON’T MOVE CITRUS PLANTS

The Texas Citrus Industry along with The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) have been working on a suppression program since 1986. This program releases sterile fruit flies in an effort to eradicate the Mexican fruit fly from South Texas. The industry is at serious risk from hot spots particularly in residential areas. Current efforts of treating dooryards after flies are trapped is limited and not an effective overall strategy for the dooryard situation. It is not practical to treat all dooryards and even if it were possible not all homeowners would not be supportive of such treatment.

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REMOVE YOUR FRUIT FROM THE TREE

It is very important to remove all citrus fruit from the tree at the end of the season to reduce the population of the Mexican fruit fly. Either eat the fruit or dispose of it in the trash. If you have fruit that you do not intend to eat, such as Sour Orange trees, it is best to remove that fruit as soon as possible to avoid your tree harboring the Mexican fruit fly.

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HOST PLANTS

Below are a list of host plants for the Mexican Fruit Fly.

Anacardium occidentale, cashew
Annona cherimola, cherimoya
Annona reticulata, custard apple
Annona squamosa, sugar-apple
Carica papaya, papaya
Casimiroa edulis,white sapote
Casimiroa tetrameria, matasano
Citrus aurantiifolia, lime
Citrus maxima, pummelo
Citrus aurantium, sour orange
Citrus limetta, sweet lime
Citrus x paradisi, grapefruit
Citrus medica, citron
Citrus reticulata, tangerine
Citrus sinensis, sweet orange
Coffea arabica, arabica coffee
Cydonia oblonga, quince
Diospyros kaki, Japanese persimmon
Feijoa sellowiana, feijoa
Inga spp.
Malus domestica, apple
Malus pumila, paradise apple
Mammea americana, mammey apple
Mangifera indica, mango
Sideroxylon capiri, bully tree
Passiflora edulis, purple granadilla
Persea americana, avocado
Pouteria sapota, sapote
Prunus persica, peach
Psidium guajava, common guava
Psidium littorale, strawberry guava
Punica granatum, pomegranate
Pyrus communis, pear
Sargentia greggii, yellow chapote
Spondias purpurea, red mombin
Syzygium jambos, rose-apple