Fruit Fly Causes Unprecedented Quarantine in LA County

The Tau fruit fly, an invasive species from Asia, could cause serious damage to agriculture
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2023 4:26 PM CDT
Fruit Fly Causes Unprecedented Quarantine in LA County
The Tau fruit fly.   (California DFA/Severyn Korneyev)

An invasive pest that could cause huge problems for farmers has caused what California officials say is a first-of-its-kind quarantine covering 79 square miles of Los Angeles County. The California Department of Food and Agriculture says produce was quarantined in the area after more than 20 Tau fruit flies were found in the Stevenson Ranch area near Santa Clarita, around 34 miles north of Los Angeles, NBC News reports. The invasive species is native to Asia. CDFA officials say the fly lays eggs in produce and the larvae tunnel through fruits and vegetables. "This the first Tau fruit fly quarantine ever in the Western Hemisphere," the agency said.

The quarantine applies only to the movement of produce, not people, CNN reports. "To prevent the spread of this invasive species, residents living in the quarantine area are urged not to move any fruits and vegetables from their property," the CDFA said in a press release. "They may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they were picked. Otherwise, they should be disposed-of by double-bagging in plastic and placing the bags in a bin specifically for garbage." The CDFA warned that the Tau fruit fly has a "very wide host range," making it a "serious pest for agriculture and natural resources." (More fruit flies stories.)

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