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Orange County Digest

West County : Second Phase of Battle Against Fruit Fly Begins

August 29, 1986|Kristina Lindgren

Agricultural inspectors completed the first round of eradication efforts against an exotic, crop-destroying fruit fly Thursday, then promptly began a second dousing of a 16-square mile target area in the west-central part of the county.

Meanwhile, no new guava fruit flies have been snared in an intensified trapping program covering 150 square miles around backyards in Garden Grove, Westminster and Midway City where the original three flies were found, a spokesman for the Orange County agriculture commissioner's office said.

The pest was found for the first time in the Western Hemisphere earlier this month.

"What we're hoping for, of course, is that there are no more out there," said Wayne Appel, a deputy commissioner. "But we'll know more in a couple of weeks. We think their reproductive cycle is about a month long, so we figure in a couple of weeks, if there are any more out there, we'll get them."

The first specimen of the guava fruit fly--or Dacus correctus-- was trapped Aug. 6 in a backyard peach tree in Garden Grove. Two more were found Aug. 9, one in a peach tree in Westminster, another in a grapefruit tree in Midway City. It was the first trace of the fruit fly, a native of India and Asia, on this side of the Pacific Ocean.

Since Aug. 15, field entomologists and inspectors have been treating tree trunks, utility pole and fence posts with a sticky paste made of an insecticide and a strong sex lure, methyl eugenol. The lure attracts the male flies, which are trapped in the sticky paste and killed by the insecticide, hopefully before female flies have been impregnated.

Appel said the second round of applications--at the rate of about 600 per square mile--should take another week to 10 days. Treatment efforts will be discontinued when no flies are found after four successive applications.

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