Recap of November First Friday with Florida First Detector

On November 4th, we dove into the basics on fruit flies. We focused specifically on true fruit flies in the family Tephritidae. These fruit flies have unique wings, often with a visible pattern. Females can have a long ovipositor which helps them lay eggs into fruit. There are quite a few fruit flies that are pests.

The females can lay eggs into fresh fruit and then, the larva hatch and feed inside the fruit. Nobody likes to take a bite of their fruit and find a larva crawling around! The damage can also lead to fruit drop and early rot in the field and during transport to the market. In severe cases, you can lose 100% of the fruit in a growing season. This is a big concern for Florida’s agriculture as fruit flies can feed on citrus, as well as many other tropical and subtropical fruits and vegetables.

Florida and other parts of the US are very concerned about fruit flies. They are cited as some of the most costly pests around the world. For this reason, there are a lot of ongoing efforts to prevent the introduction, spread and establishment of invasive fruit flies. For example, Florida regularly monitors throughout the state using traps, especially in high-risk areas like ports or where there is a density of fruit production. In addition to monitoring, there is a regular release of sterile fruit flies. This utilizes the sterile insect technique (SIT) to help combat new introductions of invasive fruit flies.

If a species of concern is detected, there will be a rapid response to quarantine and eradicate the species from Florida. An eradication program utilized integrated pest management to get rid of the pest completely from the area to which it was introduced. While eradication programs are costly and time consuming, it protects the future of agriculture in Florida and saves producers millions of dollars later on.

Resources on Fruit Flies

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We are meeting online via Zoom from 12:00PM-1:00PM on the First Friday of every month from Sept 2022-Aug 2023. Please visit this blog for registration information and the upcoming schedule.


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by Morgan Pinkerton

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert

Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.


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