By Dan Shapley
Oriental Fruit Fly Threatens Citrus Crops
A fruit fly seems inconsequential, but the Oriental fruit fly is anything but. Agricultural officials called it "one of the most potentially destructive pests in the world" and started a rapid response to the discovery of a single fruit fly this week in South Florida. The fly loves 100 fruits, and will burrow into otherwise healthy fruit to lay eggs, causing the fruit to rot from the inside out. "The larvae hatch from the eggs and tunnel through the pulp, turning it into a rotting mass," the Florida Department of Agriculture And Consumer Services said in a statement
released Thursday. Like other so-called invasive species, this fly is not native to the United States, but has a voracious appetite for native plants and agricultural crops and no effective native predators. A measure of the seriousness of this potential infestation can be seen in the agency's response: It has set 6,200 fly traps in an 81-square mile area surrounding the point where the single fly was found.