Trappers with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have picked up a single male fruit fly in traps near Valrico. The fly, related to an Oriental fruit fly, was found in a trap hanging in a sweet orange tree during routine inspection.
Inspectors with the state and U.S. Department of Agriculture have begun intensive trapping within an 81-square-mile area surrounding the find. The traps are baited with a methyl eugenol lure that is particularly attractive to male Oriental fruit flies.
Department inspectors routinely check about 6,200 traps in Hillsborough County, where Valrico is located, including 1,446 baited with methyl eugenol.
Trapping should determine whether this fly is simply a hitchhiker or part of a larger population.
If more flies are detected, eradication efforts may be confined to simply applying the lure high on tree trunks and utility poles until the male population is decimated.
Fruit flies have a host range of more than 100 different fruits and vegetables, including citrus. Adult female fruit flies deposit several eggs under the skin of a host fruit or vegetable. The larvae hatch from the eggs and tunnel through the pulp, turning it into a rotting mass.