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Oriental fruit flies discovered in Orange County

August 11, 2011 |  8:02 am

Fly The discovery of two Oriental fruit flies in the Westminster area of Orange County has prompted state officials to begin a pest-treatment program, the fourth such effort underway in Southern California.

The Oriental fruit fly targets more than 230 fruits, vegetables and other plant commodities. The female fly lays eggs inside the fruit, which hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh, making it “unfit for consumption,” according to a Wednesday release from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The flies are most frequently detected in urban and suburban areas rather than in agricultural zones.  The pests usually arrive on fruits and vegetables brought illegally by travelers from infested regions around the world. The Oriental fruit fly is widespread in mainland southern Asia as well as the island nations of Sri Lanka and Taiwan.  It’s also found in Hawaii.

The treatment area will cover approximately 18 square miles. Eradication efforts also are underway in the San Gabriel-Alhambra and Baldwin Park areas of Los Angeles County, and also in the Anaheim-Yorba Linda area of Orange County.

The process consists of squirting a small patch of “male attractant” mixed with pesticide about eight to 10 feet off the ground on light poles, trees along the street and similar surfaces. Male flies die after consuming the bait.


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Photo: Oriental fruit fly. Credit: Jack Kelly Clark