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Agriculture Press Release

April 3, 1998

Fruit Flies Found in South Florida

TALLAHASSEE -- Inspectors with the Florida Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture have begun intensive trapping after two male Mediterranean fruit flies were found in a trap located in the Miami area. One fly was found in an avocado tree in the community of Miami Springs on April 1, and a second was found in a new trap at the same location on April 2.

"The emergence of two flies in the same location suggests a localized situation," said Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford. "To be safe, we have activated the Medfly emergency plan that was designed to deal with any introduction of this nature."

Fruit trees at that location and adjoining properties will be sampled and examined for larvae. Other traps in Miami Springs are being checked and no more Medflies have been found. All 2,455 traps in Dade County will be checked within one week.

"Our early detection efforts will allow us to quickly define the extent of any potential problem and enable us to respond quickly with minimal effort," said Alfred S. Elder, Deputy Administrator for Plant Protection and Quarantine with USDAs Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The State/Federal Mediterranean Fruit Fly Emergency Program Action Plan calls for an intensified detection effort in the 81-square-mile zone surrounding any find. An additional 200 traps are being placed in the one-square-mile core area surrounding the find and will be checked daily; 50 traps per square mile are being put in the square mile surrounding the core; 25 traps per square mile in the two-mile buffer; 20 traps per square mile in the three-mile buffer and 10 traps per square mile in the four-mile buffer.

As a preventive measure, the USDA has received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to use Malathion as part of the eradication effort. A limited amount of ground spraying applied directly to the host plants will be done 200 meters around the positive find only after residents in the affected area are notified. Any subsequent action will depend on the results of this intensive survey.

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For More Information:

Liz Compton
(850) 488-3022


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