A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the Oriental fruit fly following the detection of 14 flies in the North Hills area of the San Fernando Valley. The quarantine zone measures 89 square miles. It is bordered on the north by the Angeles National Forest, on the south by the Ventura Freeway, on the west by Porter Ranch and on the east by Hansen Dam Park. See the quarantine map.
California crops at risk include citrus, pome, stone fruits, dates, avocados and many vegetables, particularly tomatoes and peppers. Growers, nurseries or other industry operations located in or near the quarantine zone are encouraged to follow regulatory practices set in place by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the vast majority are found in urban and suburban communities. The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables. Such fruits and vegetables may have been brought back inadvertently by travelers returning from infested regions of the world. The pests may also have been in packages of home-grown produce from other countries sent to California.
Agriculture officials use a male-attractant technique as the mainstay of the eradication effort for this invasive species. This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations in California. Trained workers squirt a small patch of fruit fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of an organic pesticide, spinosad, approximately 8 to10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces. Male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and perish after consuming it. The treatment program is being carried out over an area that extends 1.5 miles from each site where the flies were trapped.
The Oriental fruit fly is known to target more than 230 different fruit, vegetable and plant commodities. Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots, which tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.
Oriental fruit flies were also recently found in Florida; learn more here.
Source: Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program
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