Portions of Ventura and Los Angeles counties have been placed under quarantine for the Queensland fruit fly (QFF), the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced in late October. The quarantine followed the detection of two adult QFFs within the city of Thousand Oaks in Ventura County.
The quarantine area measures 76 square miles. It is bordered on the north by Tierra Rejada Golf Club, on the south by Las Virgenes Reservoir, on the west by Wildwood Park and on the east by Agoura Hills. See the quarantine map here.
The QFF (Bactrocera tryoni), native to Australia, is a serious pest to California’s agriculture and natural resources, and is known to target more than 175 fruits, vegetables and plant commodities. Crops at risk include citrus, grape, strawberry, fig, avocado, apricot, peach, cherry, nectarine, plum, pear, apple tomato and sweet pepper.
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.
To prevent the spread of fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the Queensland fruit fly quarantine area are being urged not to move any fruits and vegetables from their properties. Fruits and vegetables may be consumed or processed (juiced, frozen, cooked or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they were picked.
CDFA, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Ventura County agricultural commissioner and the Los Angeles County agricultural commissioner, will utilize a multi-tiered approach to eliminate QFF and prevent its spread to new areas. On properties within 200 meters of detections, staff will cut host fruit to inspect for any fruit fly larvae that may be present. If larvae or mated adult females are found, agricultural officials will remove QFF host material (fruits and vegetables) within 100 meters to remove eggs and larvae from the area.
Additionally, properties within 200 meters of detections will be treated with spinosad, which will help remove any live adult fruit flies and reduce the density of the pest population. Finally, traps that incorporate a pheromone lure and insecticide targeted for exotic fruit flies to attract and eliminate adult male Queensland fruit flies will be utilized.
For more information, call CDFA’s pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or visit this website.
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