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Oriental Fruit Fly Prompts Quarantine In Parts Of Orange And LA Counties

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — State agriculture officials Wednesday declared a fruit quarantine in the Artesia/Cerritos area of L.A. County and the Anaheim area of Orange County following the detection of oriental fruit flies.

Multiple adult flies and larvae have been detected on properties within a 130-square-mile quarantine zone, California Department of Food and Agriculture officials said.

The zone is centered on the Anaheim and Artesia/Cerritos areas and includes portions of Buena Park, Cypress, and Stanton, reaching south to Westminster Boulevard, north to Florence Avenue, west to Paramount Boulevard, and to the east to Anaheim Boulevard.

“Our system to detect invasive species like the oriental fruit fly is working well and according to design,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The key is to respond quickly and take action before the pests can spread.”

CDFA is using the “male attractant” technique as the mainstay of its eradication effort for the 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 flies are attracted to the mixture and die after consuming it.

The male attractant treatment program is being carried out over several square miles surrounding the sites where the oriental fruit flies were trapped. Officials say the approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations in the state.

On or near properties where flies have been detected, additional measures include removal of host fruits and vegetables, fruit cutting to detect any fly larvae that may be present, and treatment of host trees and plants with the organic-approved material spinosad.

To prevent the spread of fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents of fruit fly quarantine areas are urged not to move any fruits or 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 are picked.

To help prevent infestations, officials ask that residents do not bring or mail fresh fruit, vegetables, plants, or soil into California unless agricultural inspectors have cleared the shipment beforehand, as fruit flies and other pests can hide in a variety of produce. It is important to cooperate with any quarantine restrictions and to allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property to inspect fruit and oriental fruit fly traps for signs of an infestation.

The oriental fruit fly is known to target over 230 different fruit, vegetable and plant commodities. Damage occurs when the female lays eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.

While fruit flies and other pests 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 illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world. 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 the department’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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