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State of California takes emergency action to eradicate Oriental Fruit Flies found in San José

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is launching emergency action to eradicate oriental fruit flies found in the City of San José, declaring the insects a significant threat to the natural environment, agriculture and economy of California.

The treatment began on Saturday, September 3, in the areas surrounding two sites in San José where oriental fruit flies were trapped last month. The treatment, used many times over the years to eradicate infestations in California, is safe for the public and will take place over the next several weeks.
The oriental fruit fly is native to Asia and has spread to multiple Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. It is known to infest more than 230 types of fruits and vegetables, including such valuable California crops as avocados, apples, stone, and citrus fruits, tomatoes, and peppers. The 2020 value of California crops threatened by the fruit fly was $19.3 billion, according to the CDFA.
The most common ways for the fruit fly to enter California are when people illegally bring fruits and vegetables back from their travels or receive packages of homegrown produce through the mail. County of Santa Clara Agricultural Commissioner Joe Deviney said it’s critical for county residents to follow federal and state laws governing what they are allowed to bring home when traveling.
“It would be disastrous for the oriental fruit fly to get established in Santa Clara County and California,” Deviney said. “We all need to be vigilant in protecting our agricultural and natural resources. Please do not bring or ship any fruits, vegetables, or plants into California without confirming with agriculture officials that they are free of pests and permitted by law.”

CDFA will seek to eradicate the fruit flies by applying bait high on street trees, utility poles and other surfaces within a roughly 1.5-mile radius of the spots where the flies were discovered. The bait contains a natural compound called methyl eugenol, which attracts the flies, and an organic pesticide known as spinosad, which kills them. The small splotches of bait are applied eight to 10 feet off the ground using a pressurized gun.

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