REDLANDS, Calif. — The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is gearing up for a significant operation to remove fruit in areas of South Redlands to combat the spread of the Oriental fruit fly.
Why it matters: More than 2,000 residences in Redlands will be asked to comply with the mandatory fruit removal effort to try to disrupt the life cycle of the invasive insect.
Details: CDFA announced the operation on Jan. 25. In a statement the department said removal efforts would take place through February. This is the latest development in the Oriental fruit fly quarantine that began in October last year.
According to CDFA officials, the targeted fruits for removal include citrus varieties along with several other fruits susceptible to infestation by the Oriental fruit fly. Despite the removal of fruit, trees will remain intact on the properties.
Area of impact: The designated area for the fruit removal spans both sides of I-10, bounded by E. Highland Avenue to the north, Garden and Elizabeth streets intersection to the west, Alta Vista Drive to the east, and Silver Leaf Court to the south.
Residents within the Redlands quarantine zone are strongly encouraged to cooperate with agricultural officials overseeing the project, as fruit removal is mandatory, CDFA said in a statement.
Affected residents can expect to receive a 48-hour notice prior to planned fruit removal. Work crews, consisting of CDFA and USDA personnel, California Conservation Corps employees, and specialized private contractors, will be responsible for removing the fruit.
Residents are advised against trying to remove fruit themselves and are prohibited from transporting produce off their properties. Residents are urged to double-bag fallen fruit and dispose of it in regular trash bins to minimize the risk of further spread of the fly and its larvae.
What's at stake: The CDFA works with USDA and local agricultural offices to stop the Oriental fruit fly from laying eggs in fruit, preventing an infestation. The fly poses a significant threat to both residential and commercial citrus, as well as over 230 other crops, including nuts, vegetables, and berries.
Failure to contain the spread of the Oriental fruit fly could result in severe economic losses, amounting to billions of dollars annually, which would have a detrimental impact on California's food supply, according to the CDFA.
For additional information on the Oriental fruit fly and the ongoing quarantine efforts, residents can visit CAFruitFly.com