SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (VVNG.com) – With over 230 types of fruits and vegetables at risk, areas of the county have been placed under quarantine as authorities work to contain the spread of a destructive pest known as the Oriental Fruit Fly.
Residents in the affected areas were reminded of the ongoing quarantine measures Thursday, after APHIS first announced the expansion of the Oriental Fruit Fly Quarantine in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties late last year.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service addressed State, Territory, and Tribal Agricultural Regulatory Officials, informing them of the expanded quarantine due to confirmed detections of the Oriental fruit fly.
The detections were made in various trapping sites in Redlands and nearby areas, resulting in over 540 flies being detected, all in residential areas.
As a result, the Redlands area quarantine was expanded by 243 square miles to 355 square miles, affecting approximately 2,000 acres of commercial agricultural production.
This pest poses a severe risk to the local agricultural community and demands immediate attention to mitigate its impact, officials said Thursday.
Residents in the affected areas were reminded that they’re prohibited from transporting any homegrown produce off their properties, as strict quarantine measures have been implemented in response to this threat.
Although consuming produce on-site is permitted, moving it elsewhere is strictly prohibited.
San Bernardino County residents are urged to collaborate with agriculture officials who may visit their neighborhoods and grant them access to their gardens for the placement of traps, plant inspections, essential treatments, or the removal of potentially affected produce.
The public is also encouraged to play an active role in preserving California’s agriculture and environment by reporting any new or unusual plant or pest sightings in their respective areas.
The Oriental fruit fly presents a substantial threat to crops in San Bernardino County, encompassing citrus fruits, nuts, vegetables, and berries. If left unchecked, the rapid life cycle of these flies can lead to significant economic losses, increased pesticide use, revenue loss due to export restrictions on fruits, and detrimental impacts on native plants.
Originating from southern Asia, the Oriental fruit fly has been a persistent concern in regions like Hawaii and California. Over the years, the CDFA and USDA have undertaken various eradication endeavors to prevent its permanent establishment and the resulting economic and environmental harm.
The CDFA’s eradication program relies on the male attractant technique (MAT) to combat the Oriental fruit fly threat. This approach involves deploying small bait stations containing a male attractant and a pesticide compound, which effectively halts the reproduction of female flies and leads to the eradication of the population without harming other beneficial insects.
For further information and reporting of sightings, individuals can visit the CDFA’s website at www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps or contact the CDFA Pest Hotline at 800-491-1899.
Additional resources are available on the APHIS/USDA website at www.aphis.usda.gov.
APHIS, in collaboration with CDFA and the Agricultural Commissioners of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, is implementing safeguarding measures and restrictions to prevent the spread of the Oriental fruit fly to non-infested areas.
The expanded quarantine is detailed on the APHIS fruit fly website.
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