Invasive Fly: Florida’s $700 Million ‘Fruit Industry’ Threatened by an Insect

Updated: September 24, 2015
Invasive Fly: Florida's $700 Million Fruit Industry Threatened by an Insect

In Florida, federal and state officials have quarantined 85 square miles of farmland to combat a destructive pest: the Oriental fruit fly, which attacks hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables.

The outbreak is affecting hundreds of Farmers, which may prompt the need for an aerial pesticide spray, according to the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

As it stands, state officials have quarantined 85 miles worth of agricultural spaces due to the flies attack on a variety of 400 crops. Officials found 160 oriental fruit flies in Redland, in Miami-Dade County, South Florida, which is now under quarantine until January 2016 and will cost the county up to $700 million if the problem can’t be solved.

State plant health director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plant protection and quarantine noted the 75 fruit fly incursions since 1999 in Florida. Fortunately, he said, this has left the team prepared for future problems.

“We are good at this,” he said, via The Miami Herald. “We have decades worth of science, research and experience.”