Quarantine Affirmed In Kern County For Melon Fruit Fly

A quarantine is in place in Kern County where persistent melon fruit flies have been detected in the Arvin/Mettler area the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The quarantine measures 82 square miles and is surrounded on the west by an imaginary line that intersects Copus Rd. halfway between Highway 99 and I-5; on the south by Legray Rd.; on the east by an fantasy line in the foothills between Rancho Rd. and Herring Rd; and on the north by an imaginary line extending from Kenmar Ln.

The movement of host fruits and plants grown in the quarantine areas is controlled, the California Department of Food and Agriculture says.

Residents living within the boundaries are asked not to shift host plants and materials from their property.

"We don't see the melon fruit fly in California as often as some as some other pests, but it is still very disparaging," says CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura.

"This quarantine allows us to protect nearby uninfested areas by preventing movement of the fruit fly,” he says.

While fruit flies and other pests threaten California's crops, the vast majority of them are detected in urban and suburban areas, the CDFA says. The majority common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by "hitchhiking" in fruits and vegetables brought back illegitimately by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world. 

The melon fly is native to Asia. It’s found in Africa, Sri Lanka, China, Guam, India, New Guinea, Taiwan, Rota, the Ryukyu Islands, Thailand and much of Southeast Asia. In the United States, its distribution is incomplete to the Hawaiian Islands.

The larvae of the melon fly have been recorded in over 100 different hosts worldwide. It is a predominantly serious pest of melon and cucumber-type crops, the CDFA says.

A female melon fly lays eggs under the skin of host fruit. These eggs hatch into larvae, or maggots, which tunnel through the flesh of the fruit or other plant parts, parting the interior of the fruit a rotten mass and making it unfit for utilization.

Treatment of the melon fruit fly relies upon trapping. Fly lure is placed in a trap that attracts and eradicates the insects. Treatment in Kern County is by now underway, the state says. 
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