Medfly find prompts quarantine, spraying in Rancho Cucamonga
State agricultural officials detected an infestation of the crop-killing Mediterranean fruit fly in the Rancho Cucamonga area, leading to a quarantine of fruits and vegetables in an 88-square-mile area of San Bernardino County.
To eradicate the pest, state and federal agricultural agencies are spraying the insecticide GF-120 Naturalyte in a 220-yard radius of where the flies were found.
They also are releasing sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies over 11 square miles in the area, a tactic that curtails new offspring and leads to the eventual eradication of the pest, officials said.
“Our system to detect and respond to invasive species like the Mediterranean fruit fly is working well and according to design,” agency Secretary Karen Ross said in a statement released Monday. “The release of sterile medflies is a proven method of eradicating an infestation. The key is to move swiftly and take action before the pests can cause widespread damage.”
The quarantine affects growers and homeowners. Residents with gardens are being told not to transport any of their produce, and instead consume the fruits and vegetables at their homes.
The medfly can infest more than 250 types of fruits and vegetables, and its unchecked spread would devastate California’s billion-dollar agricultural industryALSO:
-- Phil Willon in Riverside
Photo: A sterile Mediterranean fruit fly released during an Orange County infestation in 2007. Credit: Los Angeles Times