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Mexican Fruit Fly attacks Valley fruit

A dangerous pest is buzzing its way onto Valley trees and causing concern for citrus lovers.

RIO, Texas (KGBT) - A dangerous pest is buzzing its way onto Valley trees and causing concern for citrus lovers.

Don't let its small size fool you, a single Mexican Fruit Fly can attack more than 50 fruits by dropping its larvae inside or on the fruit, turning it into a mushy, disease-filled crop that's impossible to eat or sell.

"It's very dangerous, especially to the grower, if it goes untreated," said Lorenzo Garza with the Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Cooperation. "If residents and growers don't pick off their fruit prior to April 1, then it can create a quarantined area in the Rio Grande Valley."

This means produce plants in the Valley could possibly shut down, causing millions of dollars in losses. The fly is known throughout other countries as a fruit killer, but now staff at Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention say they're seeing the problem locally.

"It could cause some of the producers that produce citrus throughout our region to close down," said Garza.

Garza and other workers are heading out to mobile homes and businesses to make sure there are no fruit laying under trees, waiting to be attacked.

Residents tell KGBT they're concerned about the Mexican Fruit Fly ruining what they've worked hard to maintain.

"Everybody that does have trees should be aware of what's happening and they should stay on top of it," said Mission resident Doug Brenny. "You let anything go and it'll be overrun by flies."

If you have citrus trees in your yard, be sure to pick the ripe fruit and either eat it, donate it, use it as compost, or double bag it and put it in the trash by April 1.

In an attempt to stop the Mexican Fruit Fly, the United States Department of Agriculture does not allow any international fruit or plants into the state if not inspected.

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