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Fruit fly quarantine to remain in place for months

Affected Flintridge residents include those east of Chevy Chase Drive and south of Highland Drive.

August 25, 2010|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

An 89-square-mile fruit fly quarantine that includes portions of La Cañada Flintridge will remain in effect for at least seven months, according to officials at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The quarantine was implemented on Aug. 10 after Oriental fruit flies, an invasive species, were detected in the San Gabriel Valley. It is bordered Figueroa Street, Interstate 10, the Big Santa Anita Wash the San Gabriel Mountains. Affected Flintridge residents include those east of Chevy Chase Drive and south of Highland Drive. A map can be seen at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/PE/InteriorExclusion/off_quarantine.html.

"If the Oriental fruit fly was somehow able to become established, it would pose a risk to 230 different types of fruits and vegetables," said CDFA spokesman Steve Lyle.

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Officials are working to eradicate the invasion with a process called "male attractant" wherein a fly attractant is mixed with a pesticide. The poisonous solution is applied to 8 feet off the ground to light poles and street trees, Lyle said. The program has been used successfully for 30 years, he said, but timing is largely dependent on the life cycle of the flies. The quarantine will likely be in place for up to nine months, Lyle said.

Residents are being asked not to move host fruits or vegetables from their properties in order to keep the flies from spreading.

"For [residents], the most important thing they can do is not move fruits and vegetables off their properties," Lyle said. "The less activity of that nature that occurs, the better our opportunity to limit this to the known infested area."

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