The California Department of Food and Agriculture is scheduled to begin an eradication program on Sept. 11 for the Oriental fruit fly in a nine-square mile area in Loma Linda, San Bernardino County. Two fruit flies were detected in traps in the area.

The Oriental fruit fly is known to destroy over 230 different fruit, vegetable, and plant commodities. 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 unfit for consumption.

“Oriental fruit flies are a serious threat to the environment and agriculture,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “We must respond quickly to minimize risk whenever we detect a new infestation.”

Eradication relies upon a process known as “male attractant,” in which workers squirt a small patch of fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of pesticide to utility poles, approximately 8 feet off the ground. Males are attracted to the mixture and consume the pesticide and die. The treatment is non-intrusive and has repeatedly proven successful over many years. Treatments will be repeated at two-week intervals for two life cycles beyond the last fly find, with a minimum of four applications.

The designated treatment area is south of I-10, between S. Waterman Ave. to the west and Nevada St. to the east.

Oriental fruit flies were first found in California in 1960. A number of major infestations have been successfully eradicated since then.