Press Release Provided by the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office

​The Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner, in cooperation with the Yolo County Agricultural Commissioner, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the United States Department of Agriculture, are beginning an extensive survey in response to the detection of two oriental fruit flies (OFF) within the City of Sacramento near the Meadowview community in Sacramento County.

The detections were confirmed on July 10, 2019. The detections were made as part of our coordinated pest prevention system that protects our agriculture and natural resources from invasive species with early detection a key component to successfully eradicating an infestation before it can become established.

The extensive survey, also known as a delimitation survey, consists of multiple oriental fruit fly traps placed in concentric circles going out 4.5 miles in each direction from the oriental fruit fly detection sites. Additional OFF detections may trigger a quarantine.

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), agricultural officials use “male attractant” technique as the mainstay of the eradication effort for this invasive species. This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations in California. Trained workers squirt a small patch of fruit fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of an organic pesticide, Spinosad, approximately 8-10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces; male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and perish after consuming it. The male attractant treatment program is being carried out over an area that extends 1.5 miles from each site where the oriental fruit flies were trapped.

While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the vast majority are found in urban and suburban communities. 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 of the world or from packages of homegrown produce sent to California. Help protect California’s agricultural and natural resources; please Don’t Pack a Pest when traveling or mailing packages.

“Fruit flies are serious pests for California farming and backyard gardens,” said Sacramento County Interim Agricultural Commissioner Chris Flores. “These recent detections on the heels of last year’s oriental fruit fly detections reminds us to be vigilant in protecting our agricultural and natural resources including our local community gardens and gleaning programs.When traveling abroad or mailing packages to California, we urge the public not to bring back or mail fruits, vegetables or meat products as they are pathways for OFF and other invasive species entering our state.”

The oriental fruit fly is known to target over 230 different fruit, vegetable and plant commodities. Important California crops at risk include pome, stone fruits, citrus, dates, avocados and many vegetables, particularly tomatoes and peppers.Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots, which tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.

The oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of southern Asia and neighboring islands, including Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and it has invaded other areas, most notably Africa and Hawaii.

Federal, state and county agricultural officials work year-round, 365 days a year, to prevent, deter, detect and eliminate the threat of invasive species and diseases that can damage or destroy our agricultural products and natural environment. The efforts are aimed at keeping California’s natural environment and food supply plentiful, safe and pest-free.

Residents with questions about the project may call the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner’s office at 916-875-6603.

SOURCEPhoto: Martin Hauser, California Department of Food and Agriculture
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