A menace to growers, from the backyard tomato cultivator to the commercial farmer, is on its way out of the San Gabriel Valley. According to a release issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, an extermination effort is currently underway to rid Arcadia of any presence of Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), also known as the oriental fruit fly (OFF).
The species, described as “one of the biggest threats to California agriculture” by the CDFA, targets 230 different fruit and vegetable species.
“Mated female OFF will deposit eggs into host fruits and vegetables, resulting in maggots and making the produce unfit for consumption,” read the CDFA’s release on the Arcadia treatment. “According to the LA County Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures, the diversity of trees and fruits targeted by OFF makes this exotic fruit fly a most serious and damaging agricultural pest.”
The CDFA determined that an OFF breeding population existed in Arcadia after trapping two flies between June 16 and July 26. Although a specific timeline has not been laid out, the CDFA’s Notice of Treatment will be valid until November 27.
Any residents whose property is found to need treatment will be notified in writing at least 48 hours in advance. Additionally, “specially equipped, marked pickup trucks” may be seen in the community scanning or treating trees along roadways.
Treatments will focus on areas within a mile and a half radius of where the fruit flies were trapped. The CDFA did not disclose where said flies were trapped.
Anyone with questions related to the treatment or infestation can call the CDFA Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. Additional information on OFF treatments and infestations can also be found online on the CDFA’s website.