Tuesday, August 19, 2008


DATE: August 19, 2008

Ken Pellman
Public Information Officer
County of Los Angeles Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights
and Measures
(626) 579-8589
(626) 226-6085 (cell)



ARCADIA, CA - Just after a program to eradicate the Mediterranean Fruit
Fly (Medfly) from the Los Angeles County was successfully completed with
the lifting of a local quarantine on Wednesday, August 13, another
exotic pest - the Oriental Fruit Fly (OFF) - has been found in
Lakewood and the Pasadena area. Three OFF specimens were found on the
same property in Lakewood on August 13. Since then, five other OFF
specimens have been found in Lakewood. In the Pasadena-San Marino area,
one specimen was found on July 23, a second was discovered nearby on
August 14, followed by a third found in nearby on August 16.

Oriental Fruit Fly is one of the world's most destructive insect pests.
Mated female flies pierce the skins of hundreds of different fruits and
vegetables and deposit eggs. After maggots hatch from the eggs, they
feed on the flesh of the fruits and vegetables, rendering them unfit for
consumption. Not native to California and not established in the state,
the OFF originates from southeast Asia and is now found in Hawaii and
other Pacific Islands. A longstanding, continuous exotic pest exclusion
and detection program has helped prevent this and many other pests from
becoming established here and threatening California's $32 billion
agricultural industry.

In response to the recent OFF discoveries in and around Lakewood and
Pasadena, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is
employing a "male attractant" technique in parts of Lakewood,
Bellflower, Long Beach, and along a border of Cerritos, and in parts of
Pasadena, San Marino, and along a border of San Gabriel (see attached
maps). This technique has proven highly successful in past instances of
exotic fruit fly infestations and is designed to prevent the invasive
pest from spreading and destroying commercial crops and home-grown
fruits and vegetables. The technique consists of squirting a small spot
of bait onto utility poles, light poles, and parkway tree trunks, at a
height of six to eight feet. Male Oriental Fruit Flies feed on the bait
and are killed by the small amount of Naled pesticide in the bait.
Approximately 600 applications are made in each square mile and will be
repeated every two weeks for at least six sessions. This technique
presents no inconveniences to residents. No aerial treatments are

Residents with any questions or concerns about the male attractant
technique may contact the CDFA Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

Due to the high number of specimens found in Lakewood, a quarantine
will be established. The quarantine puts restrictions on the movement
of fruit and vegetables from or through the Lakewood area.

"While we have highly trained inspectors working diligently to
prevent exotic insect pests from coming to Los Angeles County in the
first place, we need the public's help," said Kurt Floren, County of
Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner of the County of Los Angeles.
"When returning from a trip out of state, please do not bring back
prohibited vegetables, fruits, or other plants, because there could be
an insect pest or a plant disease hitching a ride with you. For the
same reason, we urge all residents to discourage your friends and family
living out of state from sending such items to you in the mail. Foreign
insects and plant diseases can kill or significantly harm native
species, destroy landscaping and home-grown fruits and vegetables,
increase the use of pesticides, and add extra costs to California's
agriculture industry - costs that will get passed along to

To find out what is prohibited to bring into Los Angeles County, call
(562) 622-0426. Anyone who wants to transport fruits or plants into or
out of Los Angeles County should call (562) 940-7803 to obtain
additional information.

Established in 1881, ACWM protects consumers and the environment
through early detection and exclusion of dangerous, invasive insect and
plant pests; enforcement of laws and regulations regarding safe
pesticide use; operation of an environmental toxicology laboratory;
clearance of weeds, brush, and debris from vacant land to reduce fire
hazards; inspection and verification of accuracy of scales, meters,
price scanners, and quantity labeling on packaged goods.
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