Discovery of Oriental fruit flies prompts fruit quarantine in St. Petersburg

Oriental Fruit Fly Cooperative Program — St. Petersburg, Florida from

The Florida Department of Agriculture says the movement of fruit, vegetables, and nuts in and out of St. Petersburg should halt to prevent the spread of Oriental fruit flies. 

The department said the flies were found thanks to a "world-class exotic pest surveillance system" and that state and federal workers have begun a treatment program to eradicate the pest. 

State and federal agriculture inspectors monitor more than 56,000 fruit fly traps across Florida and the flies were found during routine inspections, state officials said.

The state said Oriental fruit flies have been found in Florida several times since 1964. Each time, they have been successfully eradicated. 

HOMESTEAD, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: Mark Fagan, from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, hangs a fly trap in a tree in hopes of catching the Orental fruit fly on September 9, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. The discovery of the flies h

The species is considered one of the world's most dangerous fruit fly pests due to its potential to harm agriculture and the economy that revolves around it.

State officials said it attacks more than 436 different fruits, vegetables and nuts, including fig, loquat, mango, orange, peach, plum, sapote, soursop, Surinam cherry, tangerine, tropical almond and guava. 

Oriental fruit fly trap, (Orange county section), 10 August 1960. Leonard J Liekhus (with trap).;Caption slip reads: 'Photographer: Bob Davis. Date: 1960-08-10. Assignment: Oriental fruit fly trap. special instructions: 4 x 5 Royal Pan. 4 shots: Leon

The fruit flies lay their eggs in host fruits and vegetables and the eggs hatch within days. 

The state said treatments are being conducted in a 1.5-square-mile area around the fly detections, but did not reveal the exact location they were found. 

HOMESTEAD, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: Stephen Jenner, from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, sprays an insecticide under an avocado tree where some Oriental fruit flies were found on September 9, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. The dis

The treatments are administered from the air and on the ground, including fruit removal, insecticide bait and treatments on utility poles, trees and other inanimate objects out of reach of pets and humans. 

The treatments continue for about 60 days. 

More information can be found at or by calling the Division of Plant Industry Helpline at 1-888-397-1517.