An outbreak of Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) has been discovered in Chile’s Valparaiso region, in a rural area of a commune that lies to the north of the capital Santiago.
Eight insects were found in traps in the commune of Los Andes, and authorities have now established a 7.2-kilometer control area. Additional traps have also been placed and contingency plans have been implemented.
There have been numerous Medfly detections in recent months, with authorities finding an insect in the eastern Santiago suburb of Las Condes in December, and the following month finding 16 Medflies in San Bernardo to the capital’s southwest.
The Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) said the recent detections had been made thanks to the surveillance network present throughout Chile.
“There was an opportune detection, thanks to the trapping system that the institution has throughout the country and thanks to our personnel who acted quickly,” SAG national director Angel Sartori said.
“To control and eradicate this outbreak we ask for collaboration from the people in facilitating the entry of inspectors into their homes to carry out the necessary treatments for these cases.
“In addition, we reiterate that people who travel outside of the country must not enter Chile with products that are not authorized by SAG, as they can put our agriculture at risk.”
The Medfly is one of the most damaging agricultural pests in the world, attacking more than 250 species of fruit and vegetables.