Officials Set Up Quarantine Area As Invasive Fly Species Disrupts Agriculture In Los Angeles


Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Officials have established a quarantine area as an invasive fruit fly effects local agriculture in California.

The invasive Tau fruit fly caused officials to quarantine Santa Clarita Valley in Los Angeles County, according to a July 25 announcement from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). More than 20 Tau fruit flies have invaded the Stevenson Ranch area, actings as “pests” for agriculture and natural resources in the area.

The fruit flies have a “very wide host range,” from various fruits and vegetables to several plants native to California, the CDFA said. (RELATED: ‘Most Damaging’: Florida Officials Set Up Quarantine Zone As Rapidly-Reproducing Giant Snails Invade)

The quarantine area extends 79 miles, according to a map released by the CDFA. Castaic Junction borders the quarantine zone in the north, while Oat Mountain reaches the zone’s southern border. The zone is bordered on the west by Del Valle and Honby Ave in the east.

The Western Hemisphere has never experienced a Tau fruit fly quarantine until now, according to the CDFA. The invader is native to Asia, and is believed to have entered the state when travelers brought “uninspected produce” into the U.S.

The CDFA, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner are employing a “multi-tiered approach” to eradicate the Tau fruit fly from the area. Residents who live in the quarantine zone “are urged not to move any fruits and vegetables from their property,” the announcement reads. Residents can eat the produce in the area from which it was picked, but they cannot introduce produce from other properties. “Otherwise, [the produce] should be disposed-of by double-bagging in plastic and placing the bags in a bin specifically for garbage,” according to the CDFA.

For properties within 200 meters of a Tau fruit fly detection, officials will remove and inspect any fruits and vegetables for the insect’s larvae. These properties will also be treated with Spinosad, an “organic-approved material” meant to remove adult invaders and reduce the insect’s population density. Officials will also treat the area with a small dose of pesticide and set up fly traps to catch the bugs.