The Mexican fruit fly is native to Mexico, Central America, and the northern part of South America. The Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas is also part of their normal migration route. Within the last half of a century, they have also been detected in parts of California and Arizona. Mexican fruit fly larvae are widely transported in infected fruits.
An adult Mexican fruit fly is about 3/8 of an inch long, slightly larger than a housefly. It has a brownish-yellow body color and green eyes. The wings are clear with a few yellow and brown stripes. Female Mexican fruit flies have an especially long ovipositor, which is used to deposit eggs. Peach, grapefruit, orange, pear, avocado, apple, and mango are all fruit that the Mexican fruit flies deposit their eggs in.
Adult Mexican fruit flies can live up to eleven months in optimum conditions. A single female can lay up to 1500 eggs in her lifetime either singly or in groups up to 18 in one fruit. Females will use their ovipositor to deposit eggs underneath the skin of a fruit that is beginning to show color.
In six to twelve days, the eggs hatch and the larvae burrow further into the fruit. At this stage, the larvae take on the color of the fruit that they are in which makes them easy to overlook. Larvae development is temperature dependent, with warmer areas favorable to faster growth. Larvae go through three different growth stages, which take anywhere from 11-35 days. At maturity, the larvae leave the fruit and burrow into the soil below to pupate. Reproduction occurs year-round, with four to six generations occurring. When the adults emerge, they will be able to reproduce in 8-34 days.
The feeding larvae reduce the fruit in which it feed to a decaying mass. Homeowners should inspect any fruit check for broken areas or exit holes. Additionally, homeowners should not bring any fruit, plants, or vegetables from outside of the US without clearance from agriculture inspectors.