A portion of Long Beach has been placed under a food and vegetable quarantine by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, following the discovery of eight adult guava fruit flies, state officials announced today.
The 80-square-mile quarantined area is bordered by Southern Avenue in the north, East Stearns Street on the south, Central Avenue on the west, and Norwalk Boulevard on the east.
A link to the map can be found here.
Residents living in the quarantined area are urged not to move any fruits or vegetables from their property. The produce may be consumed or processed—such as juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal—at the property where they were picked, officials said.
To prevent the spread of the flies, CDFA workers will squirt a small patch of fruit fly attractant with a small dose of pesticide about 8-10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces. The technique is meant to attract male fruit flies to the mixture and kill them after consuming it, according to officials.
The flies, established in Southeast Asia, are a serious agricultural pest that can damage a wide variety of tree fruits, officials said.
The release said that damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit. "The eggs hatch into maggots and tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption," it explained.
Countries such as Pakistan, India and Thailand have seen extensive damage to agriculture production because of the guava fruit flies.
The species is generally brought into the state by travelers illegally bringing in fruits and vegetables or from packages of homegrown produce sent to California, officials said.
Photos courtesy of the CDFA