Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462, firstname.lastname@example.org,
SACRAMENTO, August 5, 2011 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture is preparing for a treatment program for the Oriental fruit fly in the Alhambra area of Los Angeles County.
Three Oriental fruit flies were detected recently in the community. The treatment program will be carried out over approximately 20 square miles surrounding the sites where the insects were trapped. A map of the treatment area is available at: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/PDEP/treatment/treatment_maps.html
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 light poles, street trees and similar surfaces. Male flies are attracted to the mixture and die after consuming it.
“Fruit flies are a serious threat to our state’s crops, and also to our environment and our backyard gardens,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Fortunately, we have a system in place to detect them quickly and take action before they can cause widespread damage.”
“We urge Californians who travel abroad not to bring back fruits, vegetables, seeds or other prohibited plant material,” Ross said. “Every invasive species we can keep out saves our state money, reduces pesticide use and protects our environment and food supply.”
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.
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.