Quarantined area for fruit fly lifted

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has removed a 77-square-mile quarantine in the San Jose area of Santa Clara County following eradication of a Mediterranean fruit fly infestation.

“The Medfly ranks near the top of the list of pests that threaten California agriculture,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “I would like to thank the residents and growers who helped us eradicate this infestation by cooperating with the quarantine.”

The infestation was first detected Oct. 5, 2005, and a quarantine went into effect on Oct 9.

Because the quarantined area was largely residential and commercial, only a handful of small agricultural growers and nurseries were regulated by the quarantine. Residents were asked not to remove any fruits, vegetables or other plant material from the area.

The eradication program for the Medfly consisted of releasing sterile male Medflies in the area and treating plants with the organically approved product Spinosad on and near the properties where the flies were found.

The Mediterranean fruit fly is one of many pests that threaten both agriculture and landscaping in California. As travel and commerce increase worldwide, the variety and frequency of pests breaching our border are also on the rise. The Medfly can infest over 260 types of fruits and vegetables, threatening California’s crops and exports as well as our urban and suburban landscaping and gardens. A permanent infestation would result in estimated annual losses of $1.3 billion to $1.8 billion.

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