The oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) is a highly invasive pest that causes severe damage to fruits and vegetables. The oriental fruit fly (OFF) can attack and cause injury to over 470 fruits and vegetables. Crops such as apple, apricot, avocado, mango, citrus, and papaya are high up in its menu list.
Originally from Asia, the OFF has spread and become established in over 60 countries. It was introduced into the Hawaiian Islands around 1945.
OFF is not established in Florida, but it is occasionally seen in traps. The detection of OFF in Florida resulted in two costly eradication efforts: one in Tampa in 2004, and another in Miami-Dade County in 2015–2016.
The short life cycle of OFF and its appetite for a wide range of fruits and vegetables makes OFF a threat to agriculture, and hence the need to limit its introduction into newer areas.
Damage to crops occurs when a female OFF creates tiny holes on fruits and lays eggs in them. The developing larvae uses the fruit as food source, then causing the fruits to rot.
USDA-APHIS and FDACS-DPI have been helping to regularly monitor OFF at the different ports of entry in Florida, as well as putting out OFF traps across the state. This is a critical measure to prevent the establishment of OFF in Florida and to prevent its introduction from countries with history of OFF.
Check out our UF entomology and Nematology Featured Creatures article and the USDA’s website for details about the oriental fruit fly.