BREAKING NEWS: Medfly Infestation in Los Angeles


BREAKING NEWS: Medfly Infestation in Los Angeles

March 24, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Medfly Infestation in Los Angeles


A quarantine has been declared due to a Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) infestation detected in the city of Los Angeles. One adult male and five unmated females were detected in five traps between March 3 and 12, 2014, and four larvae were discovered in backyard fruit on March 18.

The Medfly can infest more than 250 types of fruits and vegetables, causing severe impacts on California agricultural exports and backyard gardens alike. Residents who believe their fruits and vegetables are infested with fruit fly larvae are encouraged to call the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) are working collaboratively on this project.

The 88-square mile quarantine is in central Los Angeles, near the University of Southern California. Additional information, including a map of the 88-square mile quarantine zone, is available at:

To eradicate the infestation, the increased release of sterile male Medflies began last week, at a rate of 250,000 flies per square mile per week, double the normal rate in that area.

The sterile male Medflies are brought to California by the joint CDFA/USDA sterile insect rearing facility in Los Alamitos, which prepares sterile flies for release everyday over the Los Angeles Basin.

The sterile release program has a proven track record of eradication in southern California. Sterile male flies mate with fertile female flies in the environment but produce no offspring.

The Medfly population decreases as the wild flies reach the end of their natural life span with no offspring to replace them, ultimately resulting in the eradication of the pest.

 The enhanced release area is approximately 25 square miles. In addition, properties within 200 meters of detections are being treated with an organic formulation of Spinosad, which originates from naturally-occurring bacteria, in order to eliminate any mated females and reduce the density of the population.

Finally, fruit removal will occur within 100 meters of the larval detection property in order to remove any fruit infested with eggs and larvae.

“Our pest prevention system to detect and respond to invasive species like the Mediterranean fruit fly is working well and according to design,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The release of sterile Medflies is a proven method of eradicating an infestation. The key is to move swiftly and take action before the pests can cause widespread damage and become established.”

The quarantine will affect any growers, wholesalers, and retailers of susceptible fruit in the area as well as local residents – home gardeners are urged to consume homegrown produce on site and not move it from their property.

The eradication approach in the Los Angeles area is the standard Medfly program used by CDFA and it’s the safest, most effective and efficient response program available.

More California Ag News

BIG WATER RALLY SCHEDULED FOR JAN. 16! Thousands Needed To Participate In Big Water Rally on Jan. 16  
Solano County 4-H Clubs Win Big at Skills Day When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemon Curd! Showmanship winner Tyler Scott of the Wolfskill 4-H Club DIXON--Tyler Scott of the...
California Ag News UC To Help Ranchers UC to Help Ranchers Survive Winter 2013-14 The first agricultural operations to feel the impact of a drought are dryland ranchers, many of whom r...
MONTEREY FARM BUREAU WARNS CPUC ON WATER ISSUES Desalination Plant Could Jeopardize Groundwater Supply California American Water could threaten the ground water supply of the Salinas Valley where u...