Oriental fruit fly

One Oriental Fruit Fly Quarantine Removed in California

Daniel CooperCalifornia Corner, Pests, Regulation

Federal and state agriculture officials on May 16 removed the Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis; OFF) quarantine in Santa Clara County, California. The action was taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). It came after three OFF life cycles elapsed with no additional detections in the area.

Oriental fruit fly
Oriental fruit fly

The action releases the 112 square miles of the Santa Clara County quarantine, which contained 27 acres of commercial agriculture. USDA APHIS and CDFA established the OFF quarantine in Santa Clara County on Sept. 1, 2023, following the confirmed detections of five adult male and one unmated adult female OFF from various sites in Santa Clara and neighboring Sunnyvale between July 24 to Aug. 24, 2023. On Aug. 25, 2023, CDFA confirmed one additional male in Sunnyvale and one additional unmated female OFF in Santa Clara.

USDA APHIS restricted the interstate movement of regulated articles from the area to prevent the spread of OFF to non-infested areas of the United States. The federal agency has worked cooperatively with CDFA and the Santa Clara County agricultural commissioner to eradicate the transient OFF population through various control actions per program protocols. The quarantine release date was based on a degree-day model from the date of the last detection.

The removal of the quarantine area is reflected on the APHIS exotic fruit flies website, which contains a description of all current federal fruit fly quarantine areas.

According to CDFA, California is experiencing one of the highest levels of exotic fruit fly infestations in its recorded history. In 2023, there were more than 800 fruit fly detections in 15 counties. In comparison, an average year will see about 75 fruit fly detections in seven counties. Officials from the department have stressed that OFF can cause billions of dollars in losses every year, if the species becomes permanently established in California.

USDA APHIS recently announced a five-year strategy for fruit flies.


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