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Oriental Fruit Fly Eradication Efforts Begin in Santa Clara County

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MILPITAS, Calif. (KCBS) – Discovery of two oriental fruit flies in Milpitas Thursday prompted the state agriculture department to plan to treat about 12 square miles in the Milpitas and Fremont areas.

The eradication program began on Monday.

The flies were found in a residential area northeast of Jacklin Road and Milpitas Blvd. in Milpitas, according to Santa Clara County officials.

California Department of Food and Agriculture confirmed the identity and the trapping of the flies, which triggered an emergency proclamation by the California Secretary of Agriculture authorizing immediate implementation of an eradication program.

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A “male attractant” eradication technique was launched Monday in the areas roughly bounded by Bayview Drive in Fremont on the north, Scott Creek Road on the east, Great Mall Parkway on the south, and Center Road on the west.

The technique used will include ground-based, spot applications of insecticide and pheromone lure, and a “gelatinous mixture” which is applied in “small, dollar-sized spots” on street trees and utility poles. To protect the public from coming in contact with the treatment, it is placed at inaccessible heights.

Male fruit flies are attracted to the lure, then feed on the insecticide and die.

Found throughout much of southern Asia, the oriental fruit fly is considered an exotic pest and probably made its way to the area through contraband fruit. It infests more than 230 different fruits and vegetables including tomato, avocado, citrus, stone and pome fruits.

The flies have also been found in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Bernardino counties.

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