An 80-square mile quarantine was put in place in May of this year following the detection of eight guava fruit flies. As a result of the eradication announcement, the quarantine has been lifted.
The guava fruit fly, established in Southeast Asia, is a serious agricultural pest that can damage a wide variety of tree fruits. The eradication project is designed to protect our state’s backyard and farm trees including guava, apple, fig, jujube, orange, papaya, peach and pomegranate. 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 GFF substantially limits agricultural production in countries such as Pakistan, India and Thailand. Further information about this invasive species is available online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/pdep/target_pest_disease_profiles/guava_fruit_fly_profile.
To achieve eradication, CDFA followed the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IMP) and utilized the “male attractant” technique. This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations from California. Trained workers squirted a small patch of fruit 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 were attracted to the mixture and perished after consuming it.
The most common pathway of entry for guava fruit flies and other invasive species is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world, or from packages of home grown produce sent to California. The vast majority of invasive species infestations in California do not occur on farms, but in our urban and suburban residential areas. Consumers are encouraged to refrain from transporting or mailing fruit or other agricultural products into the U.S. and California.
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 agricultural products and natural environment. The efforts are aimed at keeping California’s food supply plentiful, safe and pest-free.
If residents suspect an invasive species infestation, they are encouraged to call the CDFA Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or contact their local county agricultural commissioner.