Claremont Insider: White-Striped Fruit Fly Eradication in Claremont

Saturday, August 1, 2009

White-Striped Fruit Fly Eradication in Claremont

Neighborhoods and open space on the far western edge of Claremont, including some of the Piedmont Mesa area and part of Claraboya, will be subject to treatment for eradication of the newly-found White-Striped Fruit Fly, found in La Verne a few days ago. This bug is a native of Southeast Asia. The California Department of Food and Agriculture said this in a press release:

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has detected an infestation of the white striped fruit fly in the La Verne area of Los Angeles County.

Seven white striped fruit flies have been detected recently in traps in the area, marking the first time this pest has been detected in the Western Hemisphere. The fly is native to tropical Southeast Asia, where it damages the fruit of many trees, most notably guava and mango. Damage occurs when the female lays eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.

Beginning on August 1, CDFA eradication crews will place several thousand traps containing a "male attractant” lure and a small amount of pesticide. The traps will be hung in trees throughout approximately 15 square miles in the La Verne area. These traps, also known as “bait stations,” attract and kill the male flies, effectively eliminating breeding. Within 200 meters of the sites where the seven flies were trapped, crews will also apply ground treatments with an organic-approved product [note: the product is Spinosad*, chemical diagram right; it is highly toxic to bees] to the foliage of trees to ensure that any established breeding populations are eradicated.

Residents of properties that are scheduled for traps or foliage treatments will be notified prior to the application.

Residents with questions about the treatment program may call the department’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

We have noticed a lot of the State Department of Food and Agriculture trucks around town in the past week or so. These are the guys who carry the cardboard "tent" traps and bottle traps to catch bugs in fruit trees. This must be what that has been all about.

Nothing about this in this week's City Manager Update--quite a bit though on the Claremont "Family Campout" and the teen Graffiti Exhibit (do we really need one of these?).

Below is a map showing the present extent of the treatment scheduled to begin today, August 1.

click on map to enlarge

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*From DowAgro description of the insecticide to be used by the CDFA: Spinosad has a unique mode of action that is different from all other known insect control products. Spinosad causes excitation of the insect nervous system, leading to involuntary muscle contractions, prostration with tremors, and finally paralysis. These effects are consistent with the activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by a mechanism that is clearly novel and unique among known insecticidal compounds. Spinosad also has effects on GABA receptor function that may contribute further to its insecticidal activity.