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July 31, 2012 > Oriental fruit flies found in Santa Clara County

Oriental fruit flies found in Santa Clara County

Submitted By Kevin O'Day

An infestation of Oriental Fruit Fly was discovered on July 23-25, 2012, in the City of Morgan Hill. Four flies were trapped near one another near the intersection of Monterey Road and Tennant Avenue. The identification of these insects was confirmed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). According to State protocol, the trapping of two or more flies resulted in an emergency proclamation by the California Secretary of Agriculture authorizing immediate implementation of an eradication program.

The planned eradication treatments are scheduled to commence on July 28, 2012, and will involve the "male attractant" technique using ground-based, spot applications of insecticide and pheromone lure. This gelatinous mixture is applied as small, dollar-sized spots ("bait stations") on street trees and utility poles. The male fruit flies are attracted to these spots because of the lure, and die from feeding on the minute amount of insecticide in the mixture. The treatments are applied at heights that are typically inaccessible and cause minimal disruption to the public.

CDFA workers will treat an area of approximately 16 square miles as part of this eradication effort. The treatment area is roughly bounded by Cochrane Road on the north, Hill Road on the east, San Martin Avenue on the south, and Oak Glen Avenue on the west.

Oriental Fruit Fly is an exotic insect pest found throughout much of southern Asia. Distribution in the United States is restricted to the Hawaiian Islands. Oriental Fruit Fly is a pest of over 230 kinds of fruits and vegetables including citrus, stone fruits, pome fruits, avocado and tomato.

Infestations of Oriental Fruit Fly likely result from the introduction of contraband fruit. In the past few weeks, this invasive pest has also been found in Orange County.

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