Tiny Fruit Flies could cause big problems for South Florida agriculture - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Tiny Fruit Flies could cause big problems for South Florida agriculture

Posted by Elizabeth Stewart - email

(WFLX) - "If it gets here I'm shut down." Local farmer Bob Trask says the Mediterranean Fruit Fly invasion is scary. He has this message for the state's department of agriculture: "They need to stop them because it could devastate the industry."

These tiny fruit flies, known as Med Flies are smaller than the nail on your pinky finger. However, local farmers say once they get inside fruit, the pests will lay eggs that hatch into maggots ruining the crop.

The Department of Agriculture says the outbreak started two weeks ago. The first Med Flies were found in a Boca Raton neighborhood. 

"We are in a full eradication mode now and we'll check these traps each and every day."

White vans have descended on the neighborhood, checking and setting traps. Mark Fagan says he and his crew have things under control. But, they are watching surrounding communities closely making sure the invasion isn't spreading.

"Commercial growers shouldn't be worried at this point. We feel like we have the personnel on the ground.

Trask says he takes little comfort in those words. He's got a lot on the line as he now is forced to add Med Flies to his list of enemies. "You're fighting the rain you're fighting the dry and then you're fighting the politicians. You're fighting everybody."

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