A response to the growing presence of the Mediterranean fruit fly has recently been established on Camp Pendleton.
The areas of concern are in the southern region of base, where the only local areas where the flies have been found.
Federal and state workers have started monitoring and placing non-poisonous traps at Mainside, and the San Luis Rey, Serra Mesa, De Luz and O’Neal housing areas until July 2010 and residents may be asked for permission to place traps within their property.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Medfly is one of the world’s most destructive insect pest, attacking more than 250 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables.
The cycle of the Medfly begins when the adult female pierces the skin of fruits and vegetables and lays eggs. The eggs hatch and develop into maggots, which feed on the fruit pulp.
Infested fruit usually falls to the ground, and maggots leave the fruit and enter the ground to pupate. Adult Medflies emerge from the ground and mate, completing the cycle.
“The areas of concern are the ones that have any type of fruit trees,” said Gabriel J. Hernandez, agricultural aide, California Department of Food and Agriculture. “We are planning to change trap locations every six weeks to make sure the Medfly doesn’t complete its cycle.”
The Medfly originated in Africa and is not known to be established in the United States. However, when it was detected in Florida and California in recent years, each infestation required intensive and massive eradication and detection procedures so that the pest did not become established.
Results of the Medfly becoming established in the continental United States, would cause a devastation of commercial agriculture and difficulty in growing and selling produce, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“The goal is to eliminate the Medflies detected in the region and to educate people on the importance of this eradication procedure,” said Danny J. Hamon, director officer in charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services. “A way to help the efforts is for individuals not to transport their fruits and vegetables outside the identified areas.”
Effects of the Medfly infestation include poor quality and appearance of home-grown products, fruits and vegetables falling off and rotting before ripening, the use of more pesticides and an increase in cost for the produce.
If Medflies are not controlled, it could mean an additional cost of $821 million per year to the American fruit industry, said Hamon.
For more information, contact the Cooperative Mediterranean Fruit Fly Project at (760) 510-4703 or visit http://www.cdfa.ca.gov.
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