SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner’s office have eradicated a Mexican fruit fly (Mexfly) infestation centered in and around the City of Long Beach, ending a 79-square-mile quarantine. A total of 3 flies, including two mated female flies, were detected.
CDFA used the release of sterile male Mexflies at a rate of approximately 325,000 flies per square-mile per week as the primary eradication measure for this pest. The sterile fly release program has a proven track record of eradication in California. Sterile male flies mate with fertile female flies in the natural 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.
CDFA, the USDA, and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner acknowledge and thank local area residents for their cooperation in preventing the movement of backyard fruit and allowing property access to perform critical eradication activities. Working together, we rid California of this invasive species.
The Mexfly is known to target more than 50 types of fruits and vegetables, potentially causing severe impacts to California agricultural crops and backyard gardens. Damage occurs when the female lays eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots and tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.
While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the vast majority are found in urban and suburban communities. The most common pathway for these invasive species to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from other regions of the world. Help protect California’s agricultural and natural resources; please Don’t Pack a Pest (www.dontpackapest.com) when traveling or mailing packages.
–California Department of Food and Agriculture
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