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Florida Scientists Tell Fruit Flies To Buzz Off

Fruits and Veggies at a farmer's market
Natalie Maynor

It’s been eight days since South Florida scientists last spotted an oriental fruit fly. They claim that means their eradication efforts are working.

So far this year, officials have found 165 oriental fruit flies. Director of the Division of Plant Industry, Trevor Smith, says that’s a huge number.

“Typically, it’s one fly here, one fly there. This time it was much larger. In fact we found one fly on August 26th and we went out and began setting more traps in the area and we found 45 flies in one trap,” Smith says.

But recently the number of flies has been dwindling. Smith says the state is fighting the flies by killing the males to keep them from mating and using quarantines to contain them.  Experts say oriental fruit flies could have a devastating effect on the state’s agricultural industry. The pests are attracted to more than 430 different kinds of produce.