The California Department of Food and Agriculture confirmed two new Oriental Fruit Fly (OFF) infestations. One was declared in the San Jose / Monte Sereno area with two flies found the end of September 2015 and the second infestation area was declared in the Milpitas / San Jose area the with two flies found the end of August and September. These new infestations are the third and fourth eradication areas declared for OFF this year! (See attached maps of the areas down below.) As a result of these fly finds, the Secretary of Agriculture issued an emergency proclamation for each area authorizing an eradication project. The San Jose / Monte Sereno area began treatments on October 1, 2015 and the Milpitas / San Jose area began treatments on October 10, 2015. These treatments will be repeated every 2 weeks for approximately 8 weeks.
The previous 2 treatment areas were declared in June 2015. Six Oriental Fruit Flies were discovered in the City of Cupertino. Due to the fact six flies were found so close to one another, the Secretary of Agriculture declared a treatment and a quarantine of the area. The treatment in the Cupertino area began on Friday, June 26, 2015 and the quarantine zone encompasses the treatment area and a 4.5 mile buffer, bringing the total quarantine area to 89 square miles. (see the map titled: “Cupertino Quarantine” below) To prevent the spread of Oriental Fruit Flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, we ask residents living in the quarantine area to not move fruits and vegetables from their property. Fruits and vegetables can only be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) on the property where they were picked.
In addition to the three areas mentioned above, we also had an infestation in the town of Los Altos Hills / City of Los Altos. The State Department of Agriculture discovered two flies within a mile and half of one another in late June 2015. The treatments for the Los Altos Hills area began on Friday, July 10, 2015. To see a map of the treatment area, please click on “Los Altos Hills treatment map”.
The area surrounding the fly finds are treated using the "male attractant" technique. This technique uses ground-based, spot applications of minute amounts of insecticide and feeding attractant lure. The treatment is applied as small, dollar-sized spots on inanimate objects such as street trees and utility poles approximately 8 feet off the ground. The male fruit flies are attracted to these spots because of the lure, and die from feeding on the mixture. The treatments are applied at heights that are typically inaccessible and cause minimal disruption to the public.
We have unfortunately been invaded by this pest several times over the past decade. Thankfully, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) was able to successfully eradicate OFF each time in the past using the male attractant technique.
The Oriental Fruit Fly is an exotic insect pest found throughout much of the mainland of southern Asia and neighboring islands. Distribution in the United States is restricted to the Hawaiian Islands. OFF is a pest of over 230 kinds of fruit and vegetables including citrus, grapes, stone fruits, apples, pears, avocado, pepper, and tomato.
These infestations are likely the result of contraband fruit smuggled into California. We ask all Californians not to bring fruit or vegetables back from your travels. Exotic fruit flies impact not only our multi-billion-dollar agricultural industry, but threaten California’s native and urban environments.