California Department Of Food & Agriculture Asking Redlands Residents To Hold Still For Fruit Removal

The California Department of Food and Agriculture as early as today will begin large-scale fruit removal in Redlands and the immediately surrounding area.
State officials are appealing to Redlands residence to cooperate with the agricultural department program, which in this case is aimed at eradicating what is currently the most threatening species of fruit predators, in this case the oriental fruit fly.
The oriental fruit fly, previously known by the scientific name, Dacus dorsalis and now referred to as Bactrocera dorsalis, is a species of tephritid fruit fly that was endemic to Southeast Asia. It is a major pest species, with a broad host range of cultivated and wild fruits. Having left its native Asia, it is a highly invasive pest that now has a presence in at least 65 countries. It is believed to have invaded Hawaii in 1945 as a contaminant of military material returning from the western Pacific war zone, in particular Taiwan and the Mariana Islands. Fruit imported to the mainland from Hawaii is generally fumigated to prevent the pest from coming her. But fruit brought by travelers, most likely from Hawaii but also from Southeast Asia and other Pacific islands has likely allowed the flies to get into California.
Residents in the Redlands-area are strongly urged to cooperate with the agricultural officials working on the project.
Agricultural authorities are asking residents and others in the target area to refrain from removing fruit from trees and are further demanding that they not move any produce from their property.
Removal is expected to continue until late February. Residents in areas of concern will receive a notice 48 hours prior to fruit removal.
Some 2,000 residences are to be impacted.
According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, “All host fruit for the Oriental fruit fly – citrus as well as a number of other fruits – will be removed from properties, with trees remaining in place. This approach will allow the California Department of Food and Agriculture and its partners at the United States Department of Agriculture and local agricultural commissioners’ offices to break the lifecycle of the invasive fly, which lays eggs in fruit that develop into larvae, posing a threat to both residential and commercial citrus as well as a total of more than 230 crops, including nuts, vegetables and berries.”
The larvae referred to are otherwise known as maggots, which are white and will burrow through fruit.
The target area in the fruit removal program consists of the area north and south of I-10, with a northern boundary of East Highland Ave, a western boundary at the intersection of Garden and Elizabeth streets, an eastern boundary of Alta Vista Drive and a southern boundary of Silver Leaf Court. A map of the area may be viewed at:
“If left unchecked, the Oriental fruit fly could become permanently established and cause billions of dollars worth of losses annually, which would significantly impact California’s food supply,” according to the Department of Food and Agriculture.
After residents receive the two-day warning, work crews will begin to methodically work their way from one end of the target area to the other. Work crews are to consist of a combination of California Department of Food and Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture employees, California Conservation Corps crews, and private contractors specializing in fruit removal.
Residents in the removal area are asked not to remove fruit from trees themselves and they may not move produce from their property. If fruit falls from trees and must be disposed-of, residents are urged to double-bag it and place it in a trash bin rather than green waste bins or other organic refuse designations. This approach significantly reduces the risk of spread of Oriental fruit flies, larvae or maggots.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture hosted a public meeting in Redlands on January 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the San Bernardino County Museum at 2024 Orange Tree Lane in Redlands at which details of the fruit removal project were discussed.
California and its fruit industry have been buffeted over the years by several pests, including Mediterranean, Mexican, Tau, melon, peach and guava fruit flies. The Mediterranean fruit fly was first detected in California in 1975 but Medflies, as they are sometimes referred to, did not become a major threat to the state’s fruit crops until 1980. There have been intensive efforts to eradicate the Mediterranean fruit fly in the past, including the release of sterile male flies.
The black, silver and tan Mediterranean fruit fly, at about one-quarter inch in length, is smaller than the Oriental fruit fly, which is roughly one-third of an inch long, with a yellowish body and black spots on its wings.
Oriental fruit flies are most easily distinguished from other flies by their yellow color. At present, they are localized to San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the area in and around Rancho Cordova in Sacramento County, the Brentwood area in Contra Costa County and part of Santa Clara, and agricultural officials are hoping to be able to arrest their spread to the rest of the state.

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