South Florida’s $700 Million Fruit Industry Threatened By An Insect

Posted: Sep 23 2015, 9:53pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
South Florida’s $700 Million Fruit Industry Threatened by an Insect

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The Oriental Fruit Fly is devastating more than 400 varieties of fruits and vegetables and could cost Florida a lot of money.

Around 85 square miles of farmland in South Florida are facing a massive threat by an invasive insect called the Oriental Fruit Fly. The outbreak of this pest could cost the state more than $700 billion, according to NPR report.

South Florida is one of the most productive agriculture areas of the nation. Its tropical climate allows it to grow more than 400 varieties of fruits and vegetables through all the seasons of the year. The outbreak of an insect can lead to nothing but devastation in terms of both agriculture output and money.

The Oriental Fruit Fly was first detected near Miami few weeks ago and ever since most of the fruits and vegetables are banned to transport in other areas. Tropical fruits that are most affected by the insect are dragon fruit, sapodilla, guava and passion fruit. Crops like tomatoes, pepper, beans and squash are also at high risk because they are going to plant soon.

The Oriental Fruit Fly is established in Asia and is often infested in Hawaii, California and Florida. The insect feeds on fruits, pierces them and lays its eggs inside it which cause a very damaging condition in the fruit.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam has declared a state of emergency and has ordered to destroy those areas where fruit flies have been found. The eradication measures are expected to drop their count significantly.

Paul Hornby from U.S. Department of Agriculture says. “I’m extremely confident we’ll get our arms around this and hopefully, within a matter of a few months, we’ll be out of the situation.”

The Oriental Fruit Fly was first introduced to United States in 1940s when they were accidently transported to Hawaii and there infestations have been eradicated many of times before.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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