published on October 2, 2020 - 2:20 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Chalk up another worry for growers in the midst of the pandemic and wildfires.

A discovery of peach fruit flies in Chowchilla has prompted the Madera County Ag Commissioner to team up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to survey the region to see how pervasive the pest has become within the county, according to a press release.

While only three flies were found, Madera County Ag Commissioner Stevie McNeill is taking the threat posed by the insect to commercial crops very seriously.

The peach fruit fly can be a threat to numerous fruits and vegetables including avocados, citrus, cucumber, dates, figs, peaches, pears and tomatoes. The female will lay eggs in the fruit and the offspring will eat through the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.

In addition, other countries might stop imports of fruits and veggies if the insect gains a foothold in Madera County.

“We want to wipe it out, not just contain it,” said McNeill.

Fortunately, McNeill said, the harvest season is coming to a close and stone fruit in Madera County is minimal.

The fly has become pervasive throughout Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Taiwan and the Arabian Peninsula. The most common way pests are brought to an area is through fruit that is brought from other regions.

In response to the detection, traps will be laid out in concentric circles out from the site where they were detected.

If more peach fruit flies are found, it could trigger a quarantine from the California Department of Food and Agriculture

Male attractant will be mixed with Spinosad, an organic pesticide, to eliminate the pest. This process has been successful in eliminating dozens of fruit fly infestations throughout California.

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