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Calif. officials going to people’s homes to remove fruit to eradicate invasive pests

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Small insects are causing a large problem for California agriculture officials. In a battle against the invasive pests known as Oriental fruit flies, thousands of Californians must forfeit fruit grown on their property.

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California’s Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced on Jan. 18 that it and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will remove fruit from 2,000 homes in the Redlands area in San Bernardino County.

Oriental fruit flies (OFF) attack more than 230 crops, including citrus and other fruits, nuts, vegetables, and berries.

“The short life cycle of the OFF allows rapid development of serious outbreaks, which can cause severe economic losses,” a CDFA fact sheet said. “Heavy infestations can cause complete losses of crops.”

The CDFA said the Oriental fruit flies, if not taken care of, could cause billions of dollars in damage annually and added that confiscating fruit will help eradicate the tiny pest, helping save commercial growing operations.

Under California’s Food and Agricultural Code of Regulations, the Division of Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services has the authority “to inspect, treat for and eradicate invasive pests and diseases that cause harm to plants.”

According to the CDFA, Oriental fruit flies lay eggs in fruit to breed, which leads to the development of larvae and maggots, leaving the fruit inedible.

The invasive species, which was first discovered in California in the 1960s, has been found in California every year since 1996. Still, eradication efforts have kept the pest from becoming a permanent resident of the state.

The forfeiture efforts are expected to run through February; the CDFA said anyone living within the specified area will be notified 48 hours before eradication teams visit the property. The CDFA also urged affected residents to dispose of fallen fruit, double bagging it and putting it into a trash bin, not containers used for food waste.

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SMALL INSECTS ARE CAUSING A LARGE PROBLEM FOR CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURE OFFICIALS.

IN A BATTLE AGAINST THE INVASIVE PESTS, THOUSANDS OF people living in the state MUST FORFEIT FRUIT GROWN ON THEIR PROPERTY.

CALIFORNIA’S DEPARTMENT OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ANNOUNCED IN MID JANUARY THAT IT – ALONG WITH THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE – WILL BE REMOVING FRUIT FROM 2-THOUSAND** homes IN THE REDLANDS AREA IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY.

ALL BECAUSE OF ORIENTAL FRUIT FLIES.

CDFA Official: “THE ORIENTAL FRUIT FLY IS A PEST THAT ATTACKS FORE THAN 230 CROPS, INCLUDING CITRUS AND OTHER FRUITS, NUTS, VEGETABLES, AND BERRIES.”

THE CDFA SAYING THE ORIENTAL FRUIT FLIES – IF NOT TAKEN CARE OF – COULD CAUSE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DAMAGE ANNUALLY. THE AGENCY ADDING THAT CONFISCATING YOUR FRUIT WILL HELP ERADICATE THE TINY PEST SAVING COMMERCIAL GROWING OPERATIONS.

AND THE STATE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO DO SO.

THAT’S ACCORDING TO CALIFORNIA’S FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL CODE.

IT GIVES STATE OFFICIALS THE RIGHT TO INSPECT, TREAT FOR AND ERADICATE INVASIVE PESTS AND DISEASES THAT CAUSE HARM TO PLANTS

ACCORDING TO THE CDFA – ORIENTAL FRUIT FLIES LAY EGGS IN FRUIT TO BREED WHICH LEADS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF LARVAE AND MAGGOTS – LEAVING THE FRUIT INEDIBLE.

THE INVASIVE SPECIES, FIRST DISCOVERED IN CALIFORNIA IN THE 60’S, HAS BEEN FOUND IN CALIFORNIA EVERY YEAR SINCE 19-96 BUT ERADICATION EFFORTS HAVE KEPT THE PEST FROM BECOMING A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF THE STATE.

THE FRUIT FORFEITURE IS EXPECTED TO RUN THROUGH FEBRUARY AND ANYONE LIVING WITHIN THE SPECIFIED AREA WILL BE NOTIFIED 48 HOURS IN ADVANCE THAT ERADICATION TEAMS WILL VISITING THE PROPERTY.