- Author: Ben Faber
SACRAMENTO — A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the Oriental fruit fly following the detection of nine flies in the Hollywood area. The quarantine zone measures 75 square miles. A link to the quarantine map may be found here:https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/off/regulation.html
“California's fruit fly season extends from late summer through the fall,” said California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. “These pests like Southern California for some of the same reasons other travelers do: the pleasant climate and the tremendous variety of food. Fortunately, with the help of local residents, we have a great track record of eradicating these infestations.”
To prevent the spread of fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the fruit fly quarantine area are urged to not move any fruits or vegetables from their property. Produce may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where it was picked.
The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world or from packages sent to California. To help prevent infestations statewide, officials asks residents to refrain from bringing or mailing fresh fruit, vegetables, plants, and soil into California unless agricultural inspectors have cleared the shipment beforehand.
While fruit flies and other invasive species threaten California's crops, the vast majority of them are detected in urban and suburban areas.
“That's why it's important for residents to cooperate with quarantine restrictions and allow authorized agricultural workers access to properties to inspect fruit and oriental fruit fly traps for signs of an infestation,” said Secretary Ross.
Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) uses a “male attractant” technique in its eradication effort for this pest. This approach, which has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations in California, significantly reduces the amount of insecticide required to eradicate the population, and only targets the fruit flies – no other insects or animals are harmed. The treatment program is being carried out over several square miles surrounding the sites where the oriental fruit flies were trapped.
The oriental fruit fly is known to target more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and plants. Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots and tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.
The oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of Southern Asia and neighboring islands including Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and has invaded other areas, most notably Africa and Hawaii.
Residents with questions about the quarantine may call the CDFA Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.
—California Department of Food and Agriculture
Photos: OFF adults and Grapefruit infested with larvae of oriental fruit fly, Dacus dorsalis.