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Discovery of Fruit Flies Triggers Eradication in Two Southland Areas

September 13, 2006|Stuart Silverstein | Times Staff Writer

Oriental fruit flies have been detected in two areas in Southern California, triggering a quarantine in part of San Bernardino County and a smaller eradication program in and around Hollywood, state officials said Tuesday.

The action in the Rialto area of San Bernardino County, already launched by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, marks Southern California's first Oriental fruit fly quarantine in two years. The agency said the fly harms more than 230 varieties of fruits, vegetables and other plants.

To knock out the fruit fly, the state partly relies on a process known as "male annihilation." Crews squirt up to 1 1/2 teaspoons of a concoction, consisting of the pesticide naled and a chemical that attracts the male flies, on trees and utility poles. It is applied at least four times over an eight-week period.

That, at least for now, will be the full treatment applied in an 8-square-mile zone extending from the Hollywood Hills into Beverly Hills, West Hollywood other nearby parts of Los Angeles.

It is bounded by West 6th Street, North Doheny Drive, North Highland Avenue and the intersection of Jupiter and Hercules drives.

Four fruit flies were found in traps in the Hollywood area last week, prompting the eradication effort.

In Rialto, officials are taking similar measures. Within a quarter-mile radius of an area near the intersection of Sierra and North Riverside avenues -- where a pregnant fruit fly was discovered -- crews are taking the extra step of spraying selected plants with the pesticide spinosad.

In addition, fruits and vegetables prone to being attacked by the fruit fly are barred by state and federal regulations from being transported out of a 65-square-mile quarantine area centered in the San Bernardino County community.

The ban includes such items as oranges, grapefruit, avocados, pears, plums, cherries and peaches.

Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the Food and Agriculture Department, said residents of the area where spinosad is being applied should avoid contact with treated trees and shrubs for four hours. They also should wait 24 hours after spinosad is applied before picking fruits and vegetables from treated plants.

But he said that elsewhere in Rialto and San Bernardino County, and in all of the affected area in and around Hollywood, no special health precautions are necessary.


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