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USDA Lifts Valley Mexican Fruit Fly Quarantine Zones

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WESLACO – The USDA lifted its Mexican fruit fly quarantine zones across the Rio Grande Valley.

The federal agency works with the Texas Department of Agriculture and local agencies to monitor and fight the fly.

Earlier this year, CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported on how the pest can be devastating for a Valley grower. They have to spend hundreds of dollars per acre to spray for the fly and, in some cases, are not allowed to harvest their fruit.

Joseph Ramirez with USDA said high temperatures helped them fight the fly this summer. He said with citrus harvest around the corner, lifting the quarantine zone is key.

“It’s positive that they are going to go out of quarantine, and harvest season once it starts kicking in,” he said. “If there is not a quarantine, there are no restrictions of moving that fruit out of the field.”

We spoke with several growers about the quarantine zones being lifted on Monday. They said they’ll continue to spray their fields just in case the pest returns.

One quarantine zone remains in the Brownsville area. USDA said they expect to cancel it later this week. 

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