Crew Works to Clear Citrus to Prevent Fruit Fly Spread

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WESLACO – Crews are working to remove fruit from Winter Texans’ lots in order to prevent the Mexican fruit fly from spreading.

Last year, CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported how one grower lost thousands due to the fly. For something so small, it packs quite the expensive punch.

"For growers, it can be extremely devastating. A quarantine area can eventually or can potentially stop production of that grove," said Lorenzo Garza with Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation.

He says their goal is to fight the fly.

"We're trying to prevent any type of quarantine areas that could emerge from having excess fruit on your tree," said Garza.

Right now, they are working to clear the fruit in lots like where Donna Luther lives.

"We do have a few citrus trees around us and we've picked from them and enjoyed them," she said.

One way the fly spreads is through trees that go unattended. This can be an issue especially when Winter Texans leave their trees behind and return to their other homes further north.

"We were educated a few weeks ago about the need to take care of our trees so we can protect our local farmer's trees as well," said Luther.

They're not just throwing all fruit away; they’re donating what can be used to the RGV Food Bank and to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Garza says they are working on doing this at various lots across the Valley.

"We're trying to encourage them to take off their fruit before April 1st," said Garza.

Luther said she will be sure to take care of her trees before leaving this summer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is urging everyone to make sure they remove all fruit from their trees by April 1 as a way to prevent the Mexican fruit fly from spreading.

You can also report all citrus disease online by visiting the USDA's webpage.

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