Skip to main content

Texas Residents: We Need Your Help To Protect Citrus from Invasive Pests

Posted by Cecilia Sequeira, Public Affairs Specialist, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Animals
May 03, 2021
A Mexican fruit fly

It’s amazing to think that just three counties in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley produce more than 9 million cartons of fresh grapefruit and oranges each year, making it one of the United States’ top citrus areas. But it’s not easy! South Texas citrus growers face a significant challenge: a small fruit fly from Mexico that attacks citrus fruit.

If you live in South Texas, we need your help. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Texas Department of Agriculture employees are inspecting fruit trees in residential yards and commercial properties in Zapata, Webb, Hidalgo, Willacy, and Cameron counties in search of fruit flies. If they ask to inspect trees on your property, please let them. They are following all Centers for Disease Control health guidelines and will have official credentials identifying them as USDA or State employees.

Two Citrus Program surveyors

If you live in a quarantine area, eat your homegrown citrus fruit or double bag and dispose of it in the municipal trash. Don’t compost it because rotting fruit will attract the flies. And please don’t move or mail homegrown fruit and citrus plants out of quarantined areas.

To learn more about these fruit flies and how you can help, visit

A crop loss from a winter storm
Category/Topic: Animals