As Californians prepare to celebrate the Year of the Dragon, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is warning those living within fruit fly quarantine areas, including the affected regions of Stevenson Ranch and Valencia in the Santa Clarita Valley, are urged to not move or gift homegrown produce during the celebration of Lunar New Year (throughout much of February), as it could spread invasive fruit flies.
There are a number of quarantines currently in place — the Mediterranean fruit fly has been found in Los Angeles County; the Tau fruit fly has been been found in parts of Los Angeles County; the Queensland fruit fly has been found in parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties; and the Oriental fruit fly has been found in parts of San Bernardino, Riverside, Contra Costa, Sacramento and Santa Clara counties.
Each fruit fly species can infect and ruin hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables, ultimately making the produce unfit for human consumption. Adult flies lay their eggs under the skin of the produce, where larvae (maggots) then develop. Maggots then hatch and tunnel through the pulp, turning it into a rotten mass.
Fruit fly infestations can result in the loss of host fruits and vegetables in backyard gardens and commercial operations. Populations of these fruit flies must be eradicated to ensure residents can continue to grow produce at home, and to safeguard the state’s agricultural heritage.
Healthy produce free of insects and disease can be purchased from grocers, which is the best way to ensure you are giving clean, quality produce to your friends and family members as part of the holiday celebration.
Quarantines for each fruit fly prohibit the movement of homegrown produce within and outside of the quarantine boundaries. Fruit fly quarantine maps for each respective fruit fly can be found below:
– Los Angeles County: Stevenson Ranch, Valencia and Santa Clarita areas
Oriental Fruit Fly:
– Contra Costa County: Brentwood area
– Sacramento County: Rancho Cordova area
– San Bernardino and Riverside Counties: Redlands, Yucaipa, Highland, San Bernardino and Riverside areas
– Santa Clara County : Santa Clara area
Queensland Fruit Fly:
– Los Angeles and Ventura Counties: Thousand Oaks area
Mediterranean Fruit Fly:
– Los Angeles County : Leimert Park area
Residents are urged to follow these guidelines:
– Cooperate with agriculture officials and allow them access to your garden to place traps, inspect plants, conduct necessary treatments or remove potentially infested produce.
– Do not move homegrown fruit, vegetables or soil from your property.
– If you reside outside of a quarantine area, do not move homegrown fruit, vegetables or soil through quarantine areas, across the state, out of state, or across international borders.
– When entering the United States from another country, avoid bringing agricultural products — including fruits or vegetables. Help us protect our agricultural, natural resources, and unique biodiversity from invasive fruit flies — please Don’t Pack a Pest (www.dontpackapest.com) when traveling or mailing/receiving packages.
– Buy fruit trees and vegetable plants from licensed California nurseries, as receiving agricultural goods from uncertified sources can spread invasive pests. Source your plants locally and responsibly. To search for a licensed nursery near you, visit CDFA’s Directory of Licensed Nurseries.
– Inspect your garden for signs of invasive fruit flies or maggots and report any findings to CDFA at 1-800-491-1899 or your local county agricultural commissioner’s office.
For more information on invasive fruit flies, visit CAFruitFly.com.