Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Texas Department Of Agriculture Issues Quarantine To Prevent Spread Of Red Palm Mite From Florida

The following is a press release regarding a quarantine on four Florida counties in order to prevent the red palm mite from moving into Texas:

AUSTIN - The Texas Department of Agriculture has quarantined four Florida counties to prevent entry of the red palm mite into Texas. The pest, which is about 1/100th of an inch in length, bright red and barely visible to the naked eye, feeds on leaves of 32 palm species.

"Protecting the Texas agriculture industry from destructive pests is critical to the continued economic vitality of our producers," Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. "We must use available regulatory actions to assist our growers in their fight to keep the red palm mite out of Texas."

While the red palm mite poses absolutely no threat to human health, it poses a serious threat to Texas palms and the state's agriculture industry, as nurseries contribute more than $1 billion a year.

The red palm mite was first detected in the continental United States on Dec. 3, 2007 in Palm Beach County, Florida. Since then it has spread to Broward, Dade and Monroe counties in Florida. As of June 17, 2008, the mite was detected in 107 residential properties and two nurseries in Florida. To date, the mite has not been found in Texas.

To ensure only mite-free palms are shipped into Texas, the quarantine requires the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to inspect the mite host plants before shipment and provide mite-free phytosanitary certification. Alternatively, nurseries from the quarantined counties can enter into a compliance agreement with FDACS to follow a prescribed pesticide treatment plan to control the mites and ship plants using a specific stamp.

No comments: