Sacramento County

Oriental Fruit Flies Detected In Sacramento County

The Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture, have initiated an extensive survey and eradication plan in response to the detection of four male oriental fruit flies, Bactrocera dorsalis, in the Wilton area of Sacramento County. 

The initial detection was confirmed on July 19, 2022. The detections were made as part of our coordinated pest prevention system that protects our agriculture and natural resources from invasive species with early detection a key component to successfully eradicating an infestation before it can become established.

The extensive survey, also known as a delimitation survey, consists of multiple oriental fruit fly traps placed in concentric circles going out 4.5 miles in each direction from the oriental fruit fly detection sites. Additional OFF detections may trigger a quarantine.

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), agricultural officials use “male attractant” technique as the mainstay of the eradication effort for this invasive species. This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations in California. Trained workers squirt a small patch of fruit fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of an organic pesticide, Spinosad, approximately 8-10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces; male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and perish after consuming it. The male attractant treatment program is being carried out over an area that extends 1.5 miles from each site where the oriental fruit flies were trapped.  

While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the vast majority are found in urban and suburban communities. The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions of the world or from packages of homegrown produce sent to California. Help protect California’s agricultural and natural resources; please Don’t Pack a Pest when traveling or mailing packages.

“Invasive non-native fruit flies are serious pests for California’s agricultural industry and backyard gardens,” said Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner Chris Flores. “These recent detections on the heels of a recent oriental fruit fly detection in the community of Rancho Murrieta reminds us that we need to remain vigilant in protecting our agricultural and natural resources. When traveling abroad or mailing packages to California, we urge the public not to bring back or ship fruits and vegetables as they are pathways for oriental fruit flies and other invasive species entering our state.”

The oriental fruit fly is known to target over 230 different fruit, vegetable, and plant commodities. Important California crops at risk include pome, stone fruits, citrus, dates, avocados, peppers, and tomatoes. Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots, which tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.  

The oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of southern Asia and neighboring islands, including Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and has invaded other areas; most notably Africa and Hawaii.

Federal, state, and county agricultural officials work year-round, 365 days a year, to prevent, deter, detect, and eliminate the threat of invasive species and diseases that can damage or destroy our agricultural products and natural environment.  The efforts are aimed at keeping California’s natural environment and food supply plentiful, safe and pest-free.  

Residents with questions about the project may call the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner’s office at 916-875-6603 or the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

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