The California Department of Food and Agriculture is announcing the removal of a 204-square-mile quarantine in the Rancho Cucamonga/Pomona area of San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties following eradication of a Mediterranean fruit fly infestation.

”The Medfly is one of the most serious threats we face in California agriculture,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “I’d like to thank all of the residents and growers in the area, as well as our partners in the agricultural commissioners’ offices for their cooperation.”

The infestation was first detected in the City of Rancho Cucamonga on Sept. 23, 2005, and a quarantine went into effect on Oct. 7. Additional flies were subsequently found in the Pomona area, increasing the quarantine area to 204 square miles and encompassing the cities of Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Upland, Montclair, La Verne, Pomona, and San Dimas.

Many businesses in the region were affected by the quarantine regulations, including growers, produce markets, wholesale produce distributors, fruit packing facilities, swap meets, certified farmers markets, nurseries, landscaping companies and others. During a quarantine, agricultural shipments from the quarantine zone are regulated to minimize movement of potentially infested commodities.

The quarantine also applied to residents, who were asked not to remove any fruits, vegetables or other plant material from the area. The eradication program for the Medfly consisted of increased releases of sterile male flies in the area and plant treatments on and near the properties where the flies and larvae were found.

The Mediterranean fruit fly is one of many pests that threaten both agriculture and landscaping in California. As travel and commerce increase worldwide, the variety and frequency of pests breaching our border are also on the rise. The Medfly can infest over 260 types of fruits and vegetables, threatening California’s crops and exports as well as our urban and suburban landscaping and gardens. A permanent infestation would result in estimated annual losses of $1.3 billion to $1.8 billion.

Find out more about California agriculture. Contact: Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs at 916/654-0462.