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90-Square-Mile Fruit Fly Quarantine Limits Movement of Produce in Area

October 10, 1985

LONG BEACH — In an effort to combat a potentially devastating Oriental fruit fly invasion, agriculture officials have declared a 90-square-mile section of Long Beach and western Orange County a quarantine area.

While there is little commercial agriculture in the area, the quarantine will require residents to refrain from removing fruit or soft vegetables from the area.

It also will require nurseries to strip fruit from trees before their sale and put tight regulations on the few outdoor vegetable vendors in the area, said Bill Edwards, deputy county agriculture commissioner.

Fruit Becomes Inedible

Oriental fruit flies lay their eggs under the skin of fruit or soft vegetables. When the eggs hatch, they become worm-like maggots, making the fruit inedible.

So far, 51 flies have been trapped by agriculture officials and larvae have been discovered in fruit at 11 sites, Edwards said.

To quash the invasion, agriculture officials are using a chemical bait that attracts and kills male flies, thus interrupting the reproductive cycle.

The bait, which is squirted on curbside trees and utility poles, is being used in a 13-square-mile area that has been the epicenter of the fruit fly infestation.

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