A portion of Santa Clara County has been placed under quarantine for the Oriental fruit fly following the detection of six flies in and around the city of Cupertino.
The quarantine zone in Santa Clara County measures 89-square miles, bordered on the north by Central Expressway; on the south by Skyline Boulevard; on the west by Montebello Road; and on the east by Winchester Boulevard. A link to the quarantine map may be found here: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/offq .
To prevent the spread of Oriental fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the quarantine area are urged not to move those items from their property. However, they may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) on the property where they were picked.
Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), CDFA primarily uses the “male attractant” technique to eradicate this pest. 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. This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations from California over the last several decades.
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.
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 by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world or from packages 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 CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.