The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner’s office have eradicated an Oriental fruit fly (OFF) infestation centered near the Hollywood area of Los Angeles County, ending a 75-square-mile quarantine that began August 18, 2017. A total of 9 flies were detected.
The Oriental fruit fly is known to target more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and plants. 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.
The Oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of Southern Asia and neighboring islands including Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and has invaded other areas, most notably Africa and Hawaii.
Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), CDFA uses a male attractant technique in its eradication effort for this pest. This approach, which has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations in California, significantly reduces the amount of insecticide required to eradicate the population, and only targets the fruit flies – no other insects or animals are harmed.
Federal, state and county agricultural officials work year-round to prevent, deter, and eliminate the threat of invasive pests and diseases that can damage or destroy our backyard gardens, agricultural products and natural environment. The efforts are aimed at keeping California’s food supply plentiful, safe and pest-free.
While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the vast majority are found in urban and suburban communities. The most common pathway for these invasive species to enter our state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions of the world. To help protect California’s agriculture and natural resources, CDFA urges travelers to follow the Don’t Pack a Pest program guidelines (www.dontpackapest.com).