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San Marino, South Pasadena treated with fruit fly pesticide

August 9, 2011 |  3:21 pm

Fruit fly traps
Parts of South Pasadena and San Marino are being treated with a pesticide as the state Department of Food and Agriculture battles the Oriental fruit fly.

The treatment program began last week and will continue over the next month in a 20-square-mile area  after the insects were discovered in traps, the Pasadena Sun reported.

Workers squirt a small patch of fly bait mixed with a very small dose of pesticide on light poles, street trees and other surfaces 8 to 10 feet off the ground. Male flies are attracted to the mixture and die after eating it.

The fruit fly is known to target more than 230 varieties of fruits, vegetables and other plants. Damage occurs when the female fruit flies lay eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit to eat.

"Fruit flies are a serious threat to our state's crops, and also to our environment and our backyard gardens," state Food & Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross said in a statement. "We urge Californians who travel abroad not to bring back fruits, vegetables, seeds or other prohibited plant material," Ross said.

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-- Ana Facio-Krajcer, Times Community News

Photo: Ignacio Valazquez with the California Department of Food & Agriculture plucks a cardboard insect trap from a citrus tree in Aug 28, 2009. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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