The discovery of a third melon fly in the El Segundo area has prompted authorities to begin an eradication program to deal with a "relatively small infestation" of the fruit fly, Los Angeles County agricultural officials said Wednesday.
County Agricultural Commissioner Paul Engler said malathion bait will be applied on the ground around host trees and vegetables on properties within one-quarter of a mile of the El Segundo sites where the melon flies were found recently.
Although the melon fly has been trapped on four previous occasions in Los Angeles County since 1956, this marks the first time that more than one fly had been discovered. But because the finds were in a limited area, Engler said, "there is every indication that we are dealing with a relatively small infestation."
The melon fly, which is slightly larger than a housefly, ranks with the Medfly and Oriental fruit fly as threats to California's large food production industry.