McALLEN — A few weeks ago, Anita De La Garza, 68, noticed an unusually large swarm of flying insects around her sour orange tree. Most years she gives away a few oranges to friends and the rest she tosses in the garbage.
But as the end of the season neared, and flies buzzed around the fruit in her orange tree, she worried they might be the Mexican fruit fly, one of several invasive pests threatening the Texas citrus industry.
“This year we became very aware that the fly could harm the citrus growers,” the McAllen resident said. “It turns out our flies are just ordinary flies.”
Nevertheless, De La Garza wasn’t going take any chances, and neither is Texas’ $200 million citrus industry. Fruit flies lay their eggs in ripening fruit and the larvae eat the flesh, causing it to rot.