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County program to prevent spread of Mexican fruit flies


Last updated 11/21/2007 at Noon

ESCONDIDO — Sterile Mexican fruit flies have been released after the County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures found five female flies in Escondido.

The sterile fruit fly release program consists of flooding the environment with large numbers of sterile flies that will mate with “wild” flies. Any eggs laid will be infertile, eventually eradicating any infestation.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture will release five million sterile Mexican fruit flies by plane each week through next spring, covering approximately nine square miles around the infested sites.

Sterile flies are marked with a dye colorant so agriculture officials can detect wild flies from sterile ones. Because the insects will be released over such a wide area, residents should not notice an increase in the number of flies.

Escondido residents and people traveling through the city should not remove backyard fruits and vegetables from the area because the produce may be infested.

To report suspicious flies, call the CDFA Pest Hotline at (800) 491-1899 or (619) 698-1046. Residents with fruit trees can request fruit fly traps by calling (800) 300-8727.


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