Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Agricultural officials lift 89-square-mile quarantine
SACRAMENTO, June 3, 2011 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have eradicated an Oriental fruit fly infestation in the Pasadena area of Los Angeles County.
“The Oriental fruit fly poses a serious threat to California farming and our backyard gardens as well,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “I would like to thank the residents of Pasadena who helped us eradicate this infestation by complying with the quarantine and cooperating with our crews.”
An 89-square-mile quarantine was declared and an eradication effort began in July 2010 after Oriental fruit flies were detected in several traps. The eradication program consisted of “male attractant” treatment, utilizing a minute amount of pesticide mixed with male fruit fly attractant and squirted in small quantities on trees. CDFA has been using this technique for more than 30 years and has a 100 percent success rate in California, never failing to eradicate an Oriental fruit fly infestation.
The quarantine area included plant nurseries and other businesses that were affected by restrictions on the movement of plants, crops and related materials. Home gardeners were also asked to comply with quarantine measures by consuming homegrown produce at home and not sharing or sending it elsewhere. These efforts protect growers and gardeners outside of the quarantine by helping to ensure that an infestation will not spread to nearby areas where it could affect California’s food supply.
While fruit flies and other pests 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. 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.
The Oriental fruit fly is one of many pests that threaten agriculture, the environment, natural habitat and residential gardens in California. As personal travel and commercial shipments increase worldwide, the variety and frequency of pests breaching our border are also on the rise. This pest can infest over 230 types of fruits and vegetables.
The quarantine and eradication have ended but the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, CDFA staff and federal agricultural officials continue to set and check traps for this and many other pests in the area and throughout the state. Discovering an infestation early, before it can spread over a large area or affect nearby crops, is a key component of a successful eradication effort.