A portion of Los Angeles County has a Mediterranean fruit fly quarantine following the detection of nine flies and three larvae in the Panorama City-area. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) are working collaboratively to address the issue.
The quarantine area in Los Angeles County measures 101 square miles, bordered on the north by Bradley Avenue; on the south by Moorpark Street; on the west by Reseda Boulevard; and on the east by Interstate 210. A link to the quarantine map may be found here: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/medfly/regulation.html.
In response, CDFA will also continue with the release of sterile male Medflies at a rate of 250,000 flies per square mile per week. In addition, properties within 200 meters of detection sites are being treated with an organic formulation of Spinosad, which originates from naturally-occurring bacteria in soil, in order to eliminate any mated females and reduce the density of the population. To further reduce the population, properties within 100 meters of known or suspected breeding populations will be subject to host fruit removal to eliminate eggs and larvae.
The sterile fly release program has a proven track record of eradication in southern California. Sterile male flies mate with fertile female flies in the environment but produce no offspring. The fly population decreases as the wild flies reach the end of their natural life span with no offspring to replace them, ultimately resulting in the eradication of the pest. The sterile male Medflies are brought to California by the joint CDFA/USDA sterile insect rearing facility in Los Alamitos, which prepares sterile files for release everyday over the Los Angeles basin.
The quarantine will affect growers, wholesalers, and retailers of susceptible fruit in the area as well as local residents – home gardeners are urged to consume homegrown produce on site and not move it from their property. These actions protect against the artificial spread of the infestation to nearby regions where it could affect California’s food supply and our backyard gardens and landscapes.
The Medfly can infest more than 250 types of fruits and vegetables, causing severe impacts on California agricultural exports and backyard gardens alike. Residents who believe their fruits and vegetables are infested with fruit fly larvae are encouraged to call the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.