The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have eradicated Mediterranean fruit fly infestations in three California counties: Santa Clara, Solano and Los Angeles. At present, there are no remaining Medfly infestations in the state.
Quarantines in Santa Clara and Solano counties already have been lifted. The Los Angeles County quarantine is no longer being enforced and is expected to be formally lifted within days, once the regulatory paperwork is approved by the state Office of Administrative Law.
“The Medfly is a pest that poses a serious threat to California agriculture,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “I would like to thank the residents and growers who helped us eradicate these infestations by cooperating with the three quarantines.”
All the quarantines were put into place in 2007, establishing regulatory procedures designed to prevent the spread of the pest. The Santa Clara County quarantine covered 75 square miles on the east side of San Jose, the Solano County quarantine covered 114 square miles in the Dixon area and the Los Angeles County quarantine covered 103 square miles in the Rolling Hills/ Rancho Palos Verdes area.
The eradication program in each instance consisted of a biological approach featuring the release of sterile male Medflies in the area. CDFA and the USDA have relied on sterile Medfly releases almost exclusively since 1996.
Throughout its history, CDFA has succeeded in eradicating every targeted fruit fly infestation detected in California and has eradicated every Medfly introduction into the state since 1975. This is known because of a post-treatment monitoring protocol developed by scientific experts and accepted internationally.
The Mediterranean fruit fly is one of many pests that threaten both agriculture and residential gardens in California. As travel and commerce increase worldwide, the variety and frequency of pests breaching our border are also on the rise.
The pest 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.