Oriental Fruit Flies Threaten Sacramento Area Crops

A large part of Sacramento County and beyond will be on quarantine due to an infestation of invasive oriental fruit flies. During this time residents who grow produce within the specified area will not be able to sell or remove “host materials” from the quarantine zone. Below are some important things to know about this harmful species.

What do oriental fruit flies look like?

The oriental fruit fly is larger than a housefly, about 8mm. Their most distinguishable attribute is a bright yellow body, with a dark “T” shape on the abdomen. The wings are clear. Female oriental fruit flies have an ovipositor which they use to deposit eggs in host fruit and other produce.

What danger do they pose?

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), some commonly threatened crops include pears, plums, cherries, peaches, apricots, tomatoes, figs, citrus, and avocados. While these are common host materials, over 230 fruits and vegetables have been recorded with infestation over time. Potential damages to California crops are estimated at $44 million to $176 million if eradication does not take place.

What can Sacramento area gardeners and farmers do to help?

While the quarantine zone is part of a larger plan to eradicate the issue, there are steps home gardeners and farmers in the area can take to assist. The flies are usually spread through fruits and vegetables removed from the infested area.

• Carefully observe all hand grown produce before handling or eating.

• Do not remove any produce from the quarantine zone. This applies to farmers crops as well as the fruit trees in backyards. If you are not sure if you are within the zone, visit the CDFA quarantine map.

• Do not dispose of produce in green waste bins. The Sacramento Agricultural Office requests produce be kept on the property or properly disposed of after being securely double bagged. If you are unsure how to proceed, they can be reached at 916-875-6603.

• Keep an eye out for signs of infestation and report any found to the Sacramento Agricultural Office or California Department of Food and Agriculture.

• Follow all guidelines distributed by the CDFA and the Commissioner’s office.

To protect your home from invasive pests like oriental fruit flies, call the experts at Advanced IPM today to schedule a no-charge inspection.

Featured image via Florida Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org