Agricultural officials have declared the end of the Peach fruit fly quarantine in Fresno and Madera counties. The project was conducted jointly by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the two counties’ agricultural commissioners.
“I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation to growers and residents in the quarantine area for their cooperation and vigilance,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “As a farmer, I understand the hardship that befalls growers who have to work under quarantine restrictions or forego selling their crops while an infestation is eradicated. When we declared this quarantine, I pledged that we would eradicate this pest as quickly as possible. We have kept that promise.”
The infestation was first detected on May 15 and the quarantine was declared on May 24, covering the detection sites and a buffer zone extending approximately 4.5 miles in each direction from those properties. During the quarantine, crops that are hosts for the pest were not allowed out of the area unless they were treated or processed as authorized. Residents and people moving through the area also were asked not to move backyard fruits out of the quarantine zone.
The eradication process, known as “male annihilation,” relies on a powerful attractant based on the pheromone that the female fly emits to attract mates. “Bait stations” including the pheromone and the pesticide dibrom are applied 6-12 feet high on utility poles and tree trunks. Male flies are drawn to the stations and die upon consuming the mixture. The bait stations were applied approximately every two weeks (five treatments total). The quarantine ended with approximately two weeks of intensive trapping to ensure that the infestation had been eradicated; elevated trapping levels will continue into early September as a precaution.
The peach fruit fly is native to several regions of Asia. Crop damage occurs when an adult female fly lays eggs in fruits and vegetables, with the resulting larvae tunneling through the produce and making it unfit for consumption.
For additional information on the California Department of Agriculture, please visit the Web site at www.cdfa.ca.gov