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Florida Declares State of Emergency Due to Fruit Flies

September 17, 2015

The U.S. state of Florida has declared a state of emergency following discovery of a fruit fly infestation. The Oriental Fruit Fly can wreak havoc on a wide variety of crops and is considered one of the world's worst pests for fruit production.

The state of emergency was declared on September 15 in Miami-Dade County after 158 of the flies had been detected.

“The Oriental Fruit Fly is one of the world's most destructive pests and poses a significant threat to Florida's $123 billion agricultural industry and the two million jobs it supports,” stated Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam, according to a press release issued by the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Department. The county affected is the leading area of the state for the production of tropical fruit and vegetables.

The Miami Herald reported that, although fruit flies have been detected for over a decade in Florida, they have never appeared in such large numbers. California and Hawaii have also battled outbreaks in the past. The flies can affect important crops such as avocados, tomatoes, bananas, and mangoes.

In the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Service's 2015 International Report, the department stated that “Asia has long been a leading destination for Florida exports.” South Korea and Japan are the top countries in Asia for Florida agricultural exports, but a 2014 webinar from the department cited $19 million of prepared fruits and vegetables being sent to China from the state.

Image Source: Pixabay


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