Today, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, sent out a release informing the public that the Mediterranean fruit fly or Medfly has been detected in the Sapodilla Cayes, Dump in the Toledo District and Hopkins Village in the Stann Creek District. As a result, BAHA has embarked on eradication activities which include fruit stripping, increase trapping and chemical control. Hernan Zetina, the Coordinator of the Medfly Program, at BAHA, noted that there is a possibility that it can negatively affect our export market, if not eliminated.
Hernan Zetina – Coordinator of the Medfly Program, BAHA: “Almost of a yearly basis, we get an introduction by people bringing in infested materials such as fruits or vegetables that can be infested with the metfly so the first depiction was done out in Sapodilla Caye and we have been doing eradication activities since March in the Cayes. We have that outbreak under control and it has been now five weeks that we have seen no detections out in the Sapodilla Cayes however last week we found one medfly in the dump and we have found four medflies in Hopkins so we are very concerned about the ones in Hopkins because there are a lot of fruits available right now such as mango. The mango season is at its peak right now and we just worry that if people start moving a lot of fruits that the fly could be spread throughout Belize so what we are doing is we are doing eradication activities such as we are removing all the fruits from the immediate area of the detection sites and we destroy those fruits. We are also putting additional traps and we are also doing chemical organic control with an approved pesticide. That is the way the medfly is spread that people don’t know the fruit is infested with the larvae and they start to eat, they find the worm in the fruit, they throw it down by the roadside, the larvae develops, becomes an adult, then the adults mate and in thirty days you can have an established population.”
In order to prevent the spread of the medfly, the public is being asked to refrain from taking fruits such as mango, cocoplum, and sea grapes outside the affected areas. Zetina added that past trends show that the medfly was eradicated each time it was discovered in the country.