Oriental Fruit Fly. Photo courtesy of Agricultural Research Service via Wikimedia Commons.
Oriental Fruit Fly. Photo courtesy of Agricultural Research Service via Wikimedia Commons.

Responding to the recent discovery of oriental fruit flies and larvae, state agriculture officials announced Wednesday the establishment of two Southern California quarantine zones in hopes of preventing the spread of the potentially damaging insects.

One zone includes a 134-square-mile area in and around Inglewood, including Ladera Heights and Westchester. The second is a 75-square-mile area in and around the city of Covina.

A map of the exact area is available online  here.

“Late summer and fall are ‘fruit fly season’ in California,” according to state Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. “These pests like Southern California for some of the same reasons other travelers do — the pleasant climate and the tremendous variety of food, for example. Fortunately, we have a great track record of eradicating these infestations with the help of residents in the affected communities.”

Residents of the quarantine areas are being asked not to move any fruits or vegetables from their property. Produced can be consumed or processed at the property where it was picked, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

State officials are conducting an eradication effort near the quarantine areas, spraying a male attractant onto trees that kills any flies that respond and consume it.

The oriental fruit fly has been known to target more than 230 types of fruits, vegetables and plants, according to the CDFA. The female flies lay eggs inside the fruit, and they hatch into maggots that tunnel throughout the fruit.

The flies are widespread in Southern Asia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and have infested areas such as Africa and Hawaii.

— City News Service 

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