News /

Nearly 80 Square Miles in Southern California Under Quarantine Over Invasive Asian Fruit Flies

The department said it's believed the fly was introduced by travelers bringing uninspected produce into the state.

A California neighborhood is under quarantine due to an invasive species of Asian fruit flies.

A 79-square-foot area was quarantined following the detection of more than 20 Tau fruit flies in the unincorporated area of Stevenson Ranch near Santa Clarita.

“This the first Tau fruit fly quarantine ever in the Western Hemisphere,” the California Department of Food and Agriculture said in a press release. “The fly is native to Asia and is a serious pest for agriculture and natural resources, with a very wide host range, including numerous fruits and vegetables as well as a select range of native plants in California.”

According to the CDFA, “The adult tau fly is approximately 7 mm in length (similar to that of a housefly). The body is yellow with black markings. The clear wings have two dark stripes, one along the front margin that ends in a dark spot and one about half as long running diagonal from the wing base. The female has a pointed slender ovipositor to deposit eggs under the skin of host fruit.”

The department said it’s believed the fly was introduced by travelers bringing uninspected produce into the state.

“To prevent the spread of this invasive species, residents living in the quarantine area are urged not to move any fruits and vegetables from their property,” the press release continued. “They may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they were picked. Otherwise, they should be disposed-of by double-bagging in plastic and placing the bags in a bin specifically for garbage.”

California plans to use the principles of Integrated Pest Management and “utilize a multi-tiered approach to eliminate the Tau fruit fly and prevent its spread to new areas.” This includes placing fly traps containing a pheromone along with a small amount of pesticide throughout the area.

“On properties within 200 meters of detections, staff will cut host fruit and vegetables to inspect for any fruit fly larvae that may be present,” the CDFA explained. “Additionally, properties within 200 meters of detections will be treated with a naturally derived organic-approved material known as Spinosad, which will help remove any live adult fruit flies and reduce the density of the population. Finally, fly traps that incorporate a pheromone lure and a minute amount of pesticide will be used in a wider part of the treatment area.”

The United States Department of Agriculture and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner are assisting with the efforts.

The area under quarantine is fairly upscale, with a median home price of $1.1 million.

*For corrections please email [email protected]*