North County, California:

Farms’ nurseries placed on fruit fly quarantine

How the discovery of five tiny flies triggered a quarantine

The discovery of Mexican fruit flies in Encinitas has placed a 65-square-mile swath of coastal North County on quarantine.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the quarantine Friday, stating that it affects “anyone who grows, sells, or gives fruit or plants away to others.” The pest appeared in Spring Valley on November 6 and was detected in Encinitas on November 29, where some specimens were caught in a bait trap in the San Diego Botanic Garden.

An article on sandiegouniontribune.com states that California is launching an eradication program that will include keeping locally grown fruit in the area, introducing sterile male flies and applying an organic pesticide to kill existing flies. The total cost is expected to be about 1 to 2 million dollars, including labour and expenses for treating the infestation.

The county last faced a Mexican fruit fly infestation in 2002, when 130 square miles in Valley Center were placed on quarantine for the pest, and crop losses totalled over $2 million, according to county agricultural records.


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