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Melon fruit fly found in Kern County

Farmers and ag officials will gather at the UC Cooperative Extension office in Kern County at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the recent discovery of five melon fruit flies southeast of Bakersfield, according to an article in Western Farm Press.

A native of Asia, melon fruit flies' only U.S. home currently is in Hawaii. However, CDFA says it poses a significant threat to a wide variety of agricultural crops important to California, including peaches, oranges, beans, tomatoes and most crops in the cucumber family.

To eradicate the flies already in Kern County, the agricultural commissioner's office and CDFA are using a "male attractant" for trapping within a 4.5-mile quarantine area and have increased trapping densities to 1,000 traps per square mile within a nine-mile grid, said the Western Farm Press article.

In a news release, the Kern County Agriculture Department implored residents to help prevent the introduction of exotic insects and diseases.

"When returning from a trip out of state, please do not bring back prohibited vegetables, fruits, or other plants, because there could be an insect pest or a plant disease hitching a ride with you," the release quoted ag commissioner Ruben Arroyo. "Foreign insects and plant diseases can kill or significantly harm native species, destroy landscaping, commercial and homegrown fruits and vegetables, increase the use of pesticides, and add extra costs to California’s agriculture industry - costs that will get passed along to you the consumer."

Melon fruit fly is about the size of a house fly.
Melon fruit fly is about the size of a house fly.

Posted on Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9:44 AM

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