HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Federal and state officials have ended a quarantine of commercial citrus in Harlingen due to the Mexican fruit fly, known as the Mexfly.
The quarantine had been in place since early 2020—and continues for a portion of Brownsville.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Texas Department of Agriculture removed the quarantine in Harlingen on Oct. 13.
“This action releases the final 108.17 square miles of the Harlingen quarantine, which contained 699.3 acres of commercial citrus,” officials said.
Quarantines are part of federal officials strategy to halt the spread of the Mexfly to non-infested areas of the United States.
Quarantines remain for portions of Brownsville
Although a quarantine area remains in Brownsville, officials say that the zone does not contain any commercial citrus growers.
On Sept. 30 and Oct. 13, federal officials reduced the area of a quarantine due to the Mexfly in the Brownsville area.
“As a result of the release of this area, which totaled 39.56 square miles and included 147.7 acres of commercial citrus, the Brownsville Mexfly quarantine now encompasses 42.91 square miles with no commercial citrus acreage,” officials said.
About the Mexfly
The Mexfly is native to Mexico and Central America. Its larvae attack the fruit of dozens of varieties of fruit, causing significant threats to citrus and mangoes, according to the USDA.
Authorities established the original Harlingen-Brownsville quarantines following the confirmed detections, between Jan. 14 and Feb. 3, 2020, of 79 adult Mexflies and 14 Mexfly larval sites in citrus from various residential areas and 12 commercial groves in Cameron County.
Subsequently, between Feb. 4 and Feb. 11, 2020, federal officials confirmed additional detections of 16 Mexfly adults and 16 larval sites in this area.