The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has set a 116-square-mile agricultural quarantine in the Santa Ana area of Orange County following the discovery of several Oriental fruit flies there.
"This quarantine will help us ensure that our markets and our consumers have continued access to the high-quality fruits, vegetables and other commodities that Californians demand," says CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. " This pest threatens more than 230 agricultural products, so we are working quickly to eradicate this infestation."
The Oriental fruit fly female lays eggs inside many varieties of fruit, vegetables and other commodities. The eggs hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.
Eradication relies upon a proven method known as "male annihilation," consisting of workers applying a small patch of a pheromone attractant mixed with a very small dose of pesticide to poles or trees, approximately 8 feet off the ground. The males are attracted to the pheromone, consume the pesticide and die before they can mate. Applications have already begun, and will be repeated at two-week intervals for two life cycles beyond that of the last fly find, with a minimum of four applications.
The quarantine area includes the communities of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Anaheim, Orange, Villa Park, Cowan Heights, Lemon Heights and Tustin (partial list). A map of the boundary is available by clicking here.
Agricultural shipments from the quarantine zone will be limited to minimize movement of potentially infested commodities. In addition, homeowners and people moving through the quarantine zone are urged not to remove fruits and vegetables from the area.
The pest was first found in California in 1960. A number of major infestations have been successfully eradicated since then.