×

Oriental fruit fly outbreak could cost Florida $1.6B: Report

Stephen Jenner, from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, sprays an insecticide under an avocado tree where some Oriental fruit flies were found on September 9, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.
Getty Images
Stephen Jenner, from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, sprays an insecticide under an avocado tree where some Oriental fruit flies were found on September 9, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.

A recent Oriental fruit fly outbreak in South Florida could cost the state about $1.6 billion, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

The outbreak, which is affecting hundreds of farmers, could push the state into using aerial pesticide spray, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam told growers, according to the report.

The fruit fly affects crops such as tomatoes, avocados and strawberries, and has left many growers angry at the state for not having already begin spraying.

Read MoreAgriculture: Job growth to boom over next 5 years

However, growers of organic produce expressed concern that their status could be negated if an airborne pesticide is used on their crops and could put them out of business for the next three years.

Nevertheless, the airborne spray the state is considering using as a last resort is GF-120, an insecticide approved for organic farming.

Click here to read the full report.