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SCV being treated for Oriental fruit flies

Next pesticide spraying scheduled Friday

Posted: October 3, 2012 6:02 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:02 p.m.

County agriculture officials are moving to eradicate the Oriental fruit fly from the Santa Clarita Valley.

Inspectors with the Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures found five specimens of the fruit fly in five separate local traps last month, said department spokesman Ken Pellman.

On Sept. 18, they found the fruit flies in traps set in Stevenson Ranch — on the 26700 block of Brooks Circle and the 25300 block of Keats Lane — and on the 24200 block of Vista Ridge Drive in Valencia.

On Sept. 19, fruit flies were found in traps set on the 25000 block of Vermont Drive in Newhall, and on the 23800 block of Gavea Circle in Valencia.

Some 32,000 fruit fly traps are set up across the county, Pellman said, describing them as the “canary in a coal mine” indicator.

“Recently, we extended our traps into the Santa Clarita Valley,” he said. “Prior to that, our efforts were concentrated elsewhere.

“In two days, we found five wild Oriental fruit flies.”

The fruit flies threaten home gardens and commercial agriculture, Pellman said.

For that reason, the county is moving aggressively to eradicate them.

Two days after the last local discovery of fruit flies, county officials started spraying local trees, he said.

“When it comes to treatment, we have a special pickup truck that pulls over to a tree and squirts a spot of bait,” he said. “And the bait has got a minute amount of pesticide.”

The bait — sprayed on trees at a height of eight feet — attracts male fruit flies and kills them.

County officials spray about 600 squirts in a square mile, Pellman said.

They expect to spray local trees again Friday.




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