California Dept. of Food and Agriculture detect Oriental fruit fly in North Hollywood/Burbank areas of Los Angeles County; agency preparing eradication program

Andrew Rogers

Andrew Rogers

Dec 2, 2011 – California Farm Bureau Federation

SACRAMENTO, California , December 2, 2011 (press release) – The California Department of Food and Agriculture is preparing for an Oriental fruit fly (OFF) eradication program in the North Hollywood/Burbank area of Los Angeles County.

Treatment of the Oriental fruit fly primarily relies upon a process known as “male attractant” in which workers squirt a small patch of fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of pesticide approximately 8-10 feet off the ground to street trees and similar surfaces. Male flies are attracted to the mixture and die after consuming it.

Two Oriental fruit flies have been detected: one on November 14 in North Hollywood and one on November 28 in Burbank. The two sites are slightly less than a mile apart. The treatment program will be carried out over approximately 13 square miles surrounding the sites where the insects were trapped.

“Our pest detection efforts are working well,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Agricultural officials routinely set and check traps for invasive pests like the Oriental fruit fly so that we can detect an infestation before it has a chance to grow into a larger problem for our communities and our farms.”

Agricultural officials have increased the number of insect traps in the region to determine whether a larger infestation exists and what area it may cover. No additional flies have been detected.

With the infestation in the North Hollywood/Burbank area, California now has eight active OFF eradication projects underway. The others include two in Los Angeles County (the San Gabriel/Alhambra area and the Baldwin Park area); three in Orange County (the Anaheim area, the Anaheim/Yorba Linda area and the Santa Ana/Westminster area); one in San Joaquin County in the Stockton area, where a quarantine was declared on September 21; and one in the Pleasanton area of Alameda County, where two OFF adults were recently detected in traps.

As the locations of these quarantines and treatment programs indicate, fruit flies and other pests may threaten California’s crops, but the vast majority of them are detected in urban and suburban areas. That’s because 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. 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.

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 authorized agricultural workers and grant them access to your property to inspect fruit and Oriental fruit fly traps for signs of an infestation. Residents can also report pest detections to the CDFA Pest Hotline, 1-800-491-1899.

The Oriental fruit fly is known to target over 230 different fruit, vegetable and plant commodities. Damage occurs when the female lays eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.

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