LOS ANGELES - State agriculture officials plan to release millions of sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies into an area surrounding Leimert Park following the discovery of two wild flies in the area.
The discovery of the two fruit flies -- which can infest fruits and vegetables by laying eggs inside them, leading to the hatching of maggots -- prompted the California Department of Food and Agriculture to establish a 69-square-mile quarantine area. The area is a large circle, but is generally bounded between Melrose Avenue and West Century Boulevard, between Nevin Avenue and the San Diego (405) Freeway.
In an effort to eradicate the damaging female egg-laying flies, the CDFA plans to release sterile male Medflies in a roughly nine-square-mile area directly surrounding the location of the infestation discovered in the Leimert Park area. State officials noted that such releases occur regularly in the Los Angeles area to prevent the breeding of more flies. But the eradication effort in the Leimert Park area will be done at a rate of 250,000 males per square mile. At nine square miles, that translates to 2.25 million flies.
The exact timing of the fly releases was unclear.
Below is the map of the impacted LA neighborhoods:
"In addition, properties within 200 meters of detections are being treated with an organic formulation of Spinosad in order to remove any mated female Medflies and reduce the density of the population," according to the CDFA. "Finally, fruit removal will occur within 100 meters of properties with larval detections and/or multiple-adult detections."
State officials said home gardeners are urged to eat their produce at home, and not move it from their property. Residents who are disposing of fruit are being asked to double-bag it and place it in the regular trash, not green waste bins.
Residents who believe their fruits and vegetables are infested with fruit fly larvae were asked to call the state's toll-free Pest Hotline at 800- 491-1899 or email email@example.com.