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State Ag Department Carefully Tracking Fruit Fly Outbreak

Jeff Kovacs via Flickr

After declaring an agricultural state of emergency last week, Florida Agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam is steadily tracking an Oriental fruit fly outbreak in South Florida. In a recent update, Putnam said scientists have found one more fruit fly since last week’s count, for a total of 159. Department spokeswoman Jenn Meale says officials have mechanisms in place for fighting the potentially devastating pest.

“We have a bait that attracts and kills these male flies. And our scientists are showing that this is an effective treatment," Meale says. "One other really important thing to note is that we have compliance agreements in Miami Dade County. So growers, packers and other agricultural sectors can implement their own treatment and those products are safe once they go through the certified process.”

Meale says in a typical year, officials find only about 2 oriental fruit flies.