August 1, 2009

Invasive fruit flies found in Calif.

A Southeast Asian fruit fly has been detected in the Americas for the first time and threatens fruit farms in Southern California.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced Friday that seven white-striped fruit flies had been found in traps in Los Angeles County.

The female flies lay eggs on fruit, especially guava and mango. When the larvae hatch, they tunnel through the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.

The state planned to begin putting out traps for the flies Saturday in a 15-square-mile area around La Verne, where the seven flies were found. The traps contain a substance that attracts males and a small amount of poison. With the males killed, the females will be unable to reproduce.

In the immediate area where the flies were found, an organic pesticide will be applied to trees to destroy any breeding populations.