POMPANO BEACH (CBS4) -An unassuming loquat tree on 4th Street in Pompano Beach looks harmless enough, but it strikes fear in the hearts of fruit growers all over South Florida.
This is where the latest Mediterranean fruit fly was discovered on Saturday.
That’s setting off more alarms at Broward County’s Department of Agriculture Office, where Mark Fagan says, “Any time a Mediterranean fruit fly is found it is a significant find and it requires us to jump into action very quickly.”
Agriculture crews began by spraying the area with an organic pesticide that kills Medflies on contact.
Next, crews placed fly traps in fruit trees all over Pompano Beach. They’ll check them daily for the first week, then once each week until the fruit flies’ life cycle is broken.
Inside the traps, Fagan says, “there’s a substance that draws them in, they think it’s food. They get in there and get trapped.”
Tomorrow, crews will begin stripping all fruit trees within 200 meters of the loquat tree where the latest Medfly was found.
Chuck Stevens lives next door to the tree where the 5th fruit fly was found.
“It’s frustrating because my garden was starting to grow pretty good and i have to take it all off,” said Stevens.
Finally, millions of sterile fruit flies will be released all over the area to mate with the females so they can’t produce any more eggs.
The bottom line, according to agriculture officials, is that Florida provides the winter food supply for most of the nation.
If Medflies get loose here and attack our agriculture, it could prove to be costly for the state’s economy.