November 20, 2009 (Fallbrook) -- A fruit stripping and cutting operation in Fallbrook has lead to the discovery of 68 Mediterranean fruit fly larvae.
“This is actually good news because it allows us to stop the Medfly from producing another generation and reduces the chance of residents moving infested fruit,” said Robert Atkins, County Agricultural Commissioner. California Department of Food and Agriculture personnel had recently checked the fruit after finding three adult Medflies in the area.
“The larvae were found in close proximity to the adult flies and will not cause the quarantine area to be expanded. Homeowners and others visiting the affected area can help by not removing backyard fruits and vegetables because the produce may be infested with maggots.”
Boundaries for the new Fallbrook quarantine have been established by County and State agriculture officials. Properties were treated with Naturalyte, which contains Spinosad, a naturally-occurring extract from soil bacteria. Officials have been releasing sterile Medflies in the Fallbrook area since Nov. 10 to mate with the females, but not produce offspring.
Medflies attack more than 260 different fruits and vegetables. The female lays eggs inside the fruit, which hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it inedible. If the problem goes untreated, commercial growers in San Diego County could lose as much as $280 million worth of crops and backyard gardeners would not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
A map of the current Medfly quarantine area in Fallbrook can be found at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/awm/medfly.html and http://pi.cdfa.ca.gov/pqm/manual/pdf/maps/3406MedFlyFallbrook.pdf.
To report maggots in fruit that is not decayed, call 1-800-491-1899. Residents with fruit trees in their yards who would like a fruit fly trap placed on their property can call 1-800-300-8727 (TRAP). For more information, visit www.sdcounty.ca.gov/awm.