An 81-square-mile portion of Los Angeles County is under quarantine for the Oriental fruit fly (OFF) following the detection of nine adult OFF in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County near the City of Inglewood.
A link to the quarantine map may be found at www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/offq.
The Oriental fruit fly is known to target over 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 and 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 fruit fly quarantine area are urged not to move any fruits or vegetables from their property. Fruits and vegetables may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they were picked.
To help prevent infestations, officials ask that residents do not bring or mail fresh fruit, vegetables, plants, or soil into California unless agricultural inspectors have cleared the shipment beforehand, as fruit flies and other pests can hide in a variety of produce. It is important to cooperate with any quarantine restrictions and to allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property to inspect fruit and oriental fruit fly traps for signs of an infestation.
Following integrated pest management (IPM) principles CDFA officials use “male attractant” techniques as the mainstay of its eradication effort for this pest. This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations from California. Trained workers squirt a small patch of fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of pesticide approximately 8-10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces; male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and die after consuming it.
The male attractant treatment program is being carried out over several square miles surrounding the sites where the oriental fruit flies were trapped. A map of the treatment area is available online at www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/ffmaps-peps.
On or near properties where fruit flies have been detected additional measures include removal of host fruits and vegetables, fruit cutting to detect any fly larvae that may be present, and treatment of host trees and plants with the organic-approved material Spinosad.
While fruit flies and other invasive species threaten California’s crops, the vast majority of them are detected in urban and suburban areas. 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 of home grown produce sent to California.
The oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of Southern Asia and neighboring islands including Sri Lanka and Taiwan. It is also found in Hawaii.
Residents with questions about the project may call the department’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.