Mediterranean Fruit Fly Eradication in Arleta, Panorama City, and North Hollywood Areas

At the risk of being redundant, we wanted you let you know about the California Department of Food and Agriculture's ROUTINE response to a Medfly infestation just discovered in the area.

Five female specimens of Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Medfly), a major agricultural pest, have recently been detected in Panorama City, Arleta, and North Hollywood. The first was unmated and found in Panorama City on Monday, November 11; another unmated specimen was detected in Panorama City, and a third in North Hollywood on Friday, November 18th; and two mated specimens in separate locations in Arleta on Saturday, November 19th.

These Medfly detections warrant, and have prompted, immediate actions to initiate eradication of this threat to commercial agriculture, community gardens, and homegrown produce.  The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is implementing established procedures that include:

  • Stripping/Cutting fruit on properties around find sites to evaluate for presence of Medfly maggots
  • Placement of extra detection traps surrounding each find site
  • Increasing releases of sterile male Medflies from the routine 62,500 per-square-mile per-week to a weekly rate of 125,000 per-square-mile around the involved neighborhoods.
  • Following resident notification, applications of Spinosad bait to host plant materials were conducted yesterday by CDFA personnel on find sites and adjacent properties.  Further applications will be conducted on properties within 200 meters of the detection sites in coming days.  The bait is applied via backpack hand-held sprayers.  Fruit flies feed on the bait and are killed by the small amount of Spinosad in the bait.  Spinosad is an organic product, derived from naturally-occurring soil bacteria.  No aerial bait treatments are planned.

We anticipate that the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture will recommend establishment of a quarantine, placing restrictions on movement of specific fruits, vegetables, and plant materials from and through the area. This will be most noticeable at Certified Farmers Markets in the area, where netting will cover the produce. It will also mean plant nurseries in the area having to follow certain additional procedures. Technically, homegrown fruits of the varieties known to be targeted by Medfly shouldn't be moved out of the quarantine area for the duration of the quarantine.

Medfly is one of the world’s most destructive insect pests, capable of causing significant damage to hundreds of different fruits and vegetables.  Mated females pierce the skin of produce and deposit eggs that hatch into maggots, which tunnel and feed on the flesh, rendering the produce unfit for consumption.

Residents with concerns about this or any exotic pest can call the CDFA Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

You can write or call the contact below with any questions. The Environmental Protection Bureau does have authority to monitor the application of pesticides by CDFA crews or contractors, and they frequently do.
Thank you,

Ken Pellman
Public Information Officer
Executive Office
County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures
Phone: (626) 579-8589...Mobile: (626) 226-6085...E-mail: kpellman@acwm.lacounty.gov

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