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Medfly Found in Imperial Beach

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August 3, 2009

County pest detection staff trapped another mated female Mediterranean fruit fly in Imperial Beach, officials announced today. The find site is only six miles from the quarantine area in Spring Valley.

“This has been a particularly bad year for finding fruit flies, quite possibly the worst in San Diego County history,” said Agricultural Commissioner Robert Atkins. “It’s extremely important that the public is aware of the situation because they should not remove fruit and vegetables from any quarantined area.”

The discovery triggers the following treatments to eradicate the insect:

Trapping: Intensive trapping by the County and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) began over the weekend in an 81-square-mile radius around where the Medfly was found. So far, no additional flies have been found.

Ground Spraying: The find site was treated with Naturalyte which contains the active ingredient Spinosad, a naturally-occurring extract from bacteria. Residents with properties within a 200-meter radius will be notified and treated beginning Wednesday.

Sterile Fly Release: Starting today, 250,000 sterile flies will be released over a 9-square-mile area over the find site.

Larval Survey: Also starting today, fruit will be stripped from host plants at the site where the flies were found, as well as the immediate surrounding area, and fruit will be cut open to search for larvae.

The Medfly is known to damage more than 260 different fruits and vegetables. Damage occurs when the female lays eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it inedible. If left unchecked, a crop loss value for commercial growers in San Diego County could be as high as $280 million. To date, every Medfly infestation in the state has been successfully eradicated by County, state and federal agencies.

Residents can report suspicious flies to the CDFA PEST HOTLINE at 1-800-491-1899 or 619-698-1046. If your yard contains fruit trees and you would like to have a fruit fly trap placed on your property, call the County’s Pest Detection Program at 1-800-300-8727 (TRAP).

California Department of Food and Agriculture Mediterranean Fruit Fly Pest Information

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