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Oriental fruit flies found in farmlands near Miami

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Posted at 11:44 AM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 11:44:08-04

MIAMI (AP) — Florida agriculture officials say an invasive and destructive pest has been identified in the farmlands near Miami.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Tuesday that three Oriental fruit flies have been found in traps in south Miami-Dade County since Friday.

The state is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to eradicate the flies. They are considered one of the world's most serious agricultural pests because of their potential economic harm.

Oriental fruit flies lay their eggs in over 430 different fruits, vegetables and nuts. Putnam says an infestation could be particularly damaging for Miami-Dade's tropical fruit growers whose crops were battered by Hurricane Irma in September.

Investigators are trying to determine how the flies arrived in the county.

An infestation in 2015 in Miami-Dade County took six months to eradicate.