Putnam Puts Miami-Dade Under Fruit Fly Emergency

Sep 16, 2015

A type of fruit fly led Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Tuesday to declare a state of agricultural emergency in Miami-Dade County.

"The Oriental fruit fly is one of the world's most destructive pests and poses a significant threat to Florida's $123 billion agriculture industry and the 2 million jobs it supports," Putnam said in a prepared statement. "Miami-Dade County's agriculture industry is a $1.6 billion industry, and we will use every weapon in our arsenal that's necessary to eradicate this pest and protect Florida agriculture and our economy."

Since Aug. 26, when the first fruit fly was detected in Miami-Dade County, 158 others have been recorded.

The fly lays eggs in fruit and vegetables, ultimately leading to the destruction of such produce as avocado, mango, mamey, loquat, lychee, longon, dragon fruit, guava, papaya, sapodilla, banana and annona.

As part of eradication efforts, the state and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have quarantined an 85-square-mile area around the core areas where detections have been made and treat a 1.5-square-mile area around each fly detection with an insecticide designed to kill male flies.