On Wednesday, Sept. 17, The California Department of Food and Agriculture is scheduled to begin an eradication program for the Oriental fruit fly in a 12-square mile area in the Ontario area of San Bernardino County. Two fruit flies were detected in traps in the area.

A similar treatment program began last week about 20 miles to the east, where two Oriental fruit flies were found in traps in the Loma Linda area. Insect traps placed in the areas between and around the two treatment zones have not detected any additional flies.

The Oriental fruit fly is known to target 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.

“These pests threaten our crops and our environment,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “This rapid response is designed to take care of the problem while the fly population is still small, before the problem has a chance to grow.”

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 bound by the Ontario International Airport to the south, Camino Sur to the north, Hermosa Avenue to the east, and N. Euclid Avenue to the west. A detailed map of the treatment area is available online at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/pdep/treatment/treatment_maps.html.

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

Residents with questions about the male attractant treatment program may call 1-800-491-1899.