Agriculture officials have begun a multi-week pesticide campaign in areas of the South Bay to combat the spread of an invasive insect.
The state of California declared emergency action Friday against the oriental fruit fly, after it was recently detected in San Jose.
The oriental fruit fly, which comes from Asia and has recently spread to Pacific Islands, is considered a “significant threat” to both the natural ecosystem and the state’s multibillion-dollar agriculture industry, said the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
The state’s top crops like avocados, apples and tomatoes are only some of the 230 types of fruits and vegetables that the pest is known to infest. $19.3 billion worth of crops in the state are threatened by the fruit fly, said the CDFA.
Last month, CDFA found two sites in San Jose where oriental fruit flies were present: one in the vicinity of South King Road and Enesco Avenue, and the other near Middle Park Drive and Oldfield Way.
The most common way of fruit flies entering the state is through people bringing fruit and vegetables home from their travels or receiving homegrown produce in the mail.
“It would be disastrous for the oriental fruit fly to get established in Santa Clara County and California,” Joe Deviney, County of Santa Clara agricultural commissioner, said in a statement. “We all need to be vigilant in protecting our agricultural and natural resources. Please do not bring or ship any fruits, vegetables, or plants into California without confirming with agriculture officials that they are free of pests and permitted by law.”
CDFA initiated treatment in a 1.5 mile radius surrounding the sites in San Jose on Saturday, and the treatment will continue for the next few weeks. Crews will place bait, which contains and organic pesticide called spinosad, on street trees and utility poles.