The latest fly pest of concern in California is the black fig fly (Silba adipata), a species that exclusively feeds and reproduces on figs. The Black fig fly is originally from the Mediterranean region and can currently be found throughout southern Europe, north Africa, and the Middle East. More recently, the black fig fly was found infesting figs in South Africa (2007), Mexico (2020), and now southern California (2021).
California produces close to 100 percent of the US fig crop. Luckily, the fly has not yet been seen in the Central Valley, where a majority of commercial fig acreage is located. Following detection in Mexico, the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service placed additional restrictions on the importation of fresh figs from Mexico to the United States.
Adult black fig fly populations can be monitored using a McPhail-type trap baited with either torula yeast or a combination of 2 percent ammonium sulfate and hexanol. Following local reports of infestation in southern California, traps were deployed in a few locations in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in 2021. Both lures were successful at attracting and capturing adult black fig fly.