Oriental fruit fly prompts Cerritos quarantine

CERRITOS - A recently discovered oriental fruit fly has prompted state agriculture officials to quarantine parts of Cerritos, Artesia and Anaheim to prevent the fly from spreading to other parts of Southern California.The quarantine zone is centered in Anaheim and Cerritos, and includes portions of Buena Park, Cypress and Stanton, reaching south to Westminster Boulevard, north to Florence Avenue, west to Paramount Boulevard and east to Anaheim Boulevard. Multiple adult flies and larvae have been detected on properties in the quarantine zone, officials said. "Our system to detect invasive species like the oriental fruit fly is working well and according to design," said Karen Ross, secretary for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. "The key is to respond quickly and take action before the pests can spread." To prevent the spread of fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents of quarantine areas are urged not to move any fruits or vegetables from their property. Fruits and vegetables can be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they are picked. On or near properties where flies have been detected, state officials are removing host fruits and vegetables and treating plants with the organic-approved material spinosad. To help prevent infestations, officials are also asking residents not to bring or mail fresh fruit, vegetables, plants or soil into California unless agricultural inspectors have cleared the shipment beforehand, as fruit flies and other pests can hide in a variety of produce. "It is important to cooperate with any quarantine restrictions and to allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property to inspect fruit and oriental fruit fly traps for signs of an infestation," officials said. The oriental fruit fly is known to target more than 230 different fruit, vegetable and plant commodities. Damage occurs when the female lays eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption. While fruit flies and other pests threaten California's crops, the vast majority of them are detected in urban and suburban areas. The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by "hitchhiking" in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world. The oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of Southern Asia and neighboring islands including Sri Lanka and Taiwan. It is also found in Hawaii. Residents without questions about the project can call the state's Pest Hotline at (800) 491-1899.

********** Published: Aug. 22, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 19