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Fruit Fly Invasion: Outbreak Could Cost Florida $1.6 Billion

First Posted: Sep 23, 2015 01:34 PM EDT

No one likes fruit flies. They're those little pests that fly around your garbage or decaying food. Scientifically speaking, this species of fly is referred to as Drosophila melanogaster and may also be more candidly referred to as the vinegar fly.

Now, South Florida is dealing with these guys in swarms; masses of little fruit flies that could cost the state up to $1.6 billion, according to The Miami Herald.

The outbreak is affecting hundreds of Farmers, which may prompt the need for an aerial pesticide spray, according to the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

As it stands, state officials have quarantined 85 miles worth of agricultural spaces due to the flies attack on a variety of 400 crops. Officials found 160 oriental fruit flies in Redland, in Miami-Dade County, South Florida, which is now under quarantine until January 2016 and will cost the county up to $700 million if the problem can't be solved.

State plant health director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's plant protection and quarantine noted the 75 fruit fly incursions since 1999 in Florida. Fortunately, he said, this has left the team prepared for future problems.

"We are good at this," he said, via The Miami Herald. "We have decades worth of science, research and experience."

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