A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the guava fruit fly (GFF) following the detection of eight adult GFF within the City of Long Beach. The quarantine area in Los Angeles County measures 80 square miles, bordered on the north by Southern Avenue; on the south by E. Stearns Street; on the west by Central Avenue; and on the east by Norwalk Boulevard. A link to the quarantine map may be found here: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/gff/regulation.html.
To prevent the spread of fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the fruit fly quarantine area are urged not to move any fruits and vegetables from their property. Fruits and vegetables may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they were picked.
Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IMP), the California Department of Food and Agriculture, uses “male attractant” technique as the mainstay of its eradication effort for this invasive species. This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations from California. Trained workers squirt 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 are attracted to the mixture and perish after consuming it.
The male attractant treatment program is being carried out over several square miles surrounding the sites where the guava fruit flies were trapped. A map of the treatment area is available online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/ffmaps-peps .
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.
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 around the world, or from packages of home grown produce sent to California. The vast majority of invasive species infestations in California occur not 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.