BRENTWOOD (CBS SF) – A nasty new pest is threatening to invade the Brentwood area’s multi-million dollar fruit crops.
The Contra Costa County Ag department trapped a single Peach fruit fly in a Brentwood residential neighborhood in late July. Then no more were found until a surge in trappings last week.
”We trapped three more which was shocking to us to catch that many that quick, all that close to the ag core,” said Matt Slattengren, the county Agricultural Commissioner.
The fruit fly lays eggs in peaches and other tree fruit…which then turn into a maggot-infested mush.
“If it gets started here, it wll devastate our crop,” said Barbara Cecchini, a grower-retailer who runs a U-Pick stand called The Urban Edge in Brentwood.
The Ag Commissioner thinks a traveler may have hand-carried infested fruit into the area.
“If it hit hard, we could lose half a million dollars. That’s a lot of money,” Cecchini said.
Besides cutting into the profits of growers, retailers and farmer’s markets, it could cause a shortage on what’s available to consumers.
”If you have a pest wipe out one crop, then it’s going to go after another and another,” said Rob Federle, who came from Livermore to buy peaches.
The agriculture department is now laying traps to attract and kill fruit flies. It is not planning on spraying, but if the infestation grows, a quarantine could be placed on the region’s fruit to keep it from spreading throughout the state.
The Ag Department is holding a special meeting with growers on Thursday, August 22nd at the Knightsen Farm Center to talk about the fruit fly.