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Mediterranean fruit flies cause quarantine in California

21 total found between December 10th and 30th

By Diego Flammini,

An 83-square mile area including Perris, Oleander Avenue, Rouse Road, Post Road, and Briggs Road in California is under quarantine because of a Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) infestation.

Nine males, three mated females, and nine larvae were discovered in December and as a result, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) are combining their resources to combat the infestation.

The insect, considered as one of the most dangerous to plants, infests apples, apricots, avocadoes, bell peppers, carambolas, coffee, dates, figs, grapes, grapefruits, guavas, lemons, limes, loquats, lychees, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, pomegranates, pummeloes, quinces, sapotes, tangerines, tomatoes, and walnut. The combined value of those products to the state of California is more $16.5 billion.

The joint effort by the USDA, CDFA, and Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner are using three methods to eradicate the Medflies:

  1. They’re releasing sterile male Medflies at a rate of 250,000 flies per square mile. The males will mate with the females but produce no offspring.
  2. Properties within 200 metres of detections will be sprayed with Spinosad, an insecticide.
  3. Any fruit found within 100 metres of Medfly detection will be removed.

Anyone who thinks their fruits and vegetables have been infested by the Medflies are encouraged to call California’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

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