Parts of Santa Clara County have been placed under quarantine after invasive oriental fruit flies were detected in cities such as Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, county officials said.
A 112-square-mile portion of the county, which includes all of Santa Clara and portions of Cupertino, Milpitas, San Jose and Sunnyvale, was placed under quarantine by the California Secretary of Agriculture.
The quarantine took effect on Sept. 1 and will likely last until June 1, 2024, according to county officials.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture will treat the area near where the pests were trapped, and is likely to continue doing so through early March 2024, county officials said.
Residents of quarantined areas are advised not to move homegrown fruits and vegetables from their property to prevent the spread of the invasive flies.
"These fruits and vegetables may, however, be consumed or processed (e.g., juiced, frozen, cooked or ground in the garbage disposal) on the property where they were grown. Affected residents may also dispose of homegrown fruits and vegetables by double-bagging and sealing them and placing them in their regular trash bins, not in bins designated for organic material and food scraps," county officials said.
The oriental fruit fly infests over 230 types of fruits and vegetables such as avocados, apples, stone and citrus fruits, tomatoes and peppers, county officials said.
The invasive flies poses a significant threat to California's agricultural industry, according to the CDFA, which noted that the state's crops threatened by the species in 2020 were worth $19.3 billion.