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Medfly Quarantine In Escondido

Audio

Aired 9/29/09

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has established a 77-square-mile quarantine zone around Escondido to halt the spread of Mediterranean fruit flies.

Adult Mediterranean fruit fly

Above: Adult Mediterranean fruit fly

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has established a 77-square-mile quarantine zone around Escondido to halt the spread of Mediterranean fruit flies.

The Mediterranean fruit fly, or "Medfly," can infest more than 260 types of fruits and vegetables.

Steve Lyle with the California Department of Food and Agriculture says a permanent infestation could result in up to $2 billion in losses to state fruit and vegetable exports.

He says people moving through the quarantine zone should not remove fruits and vegetables and should eat homegrown produce on site.

"Those measures help reduce the risk of spread of the Medfly beyond the quarantine area," Lyle says. "The quarantine is a line, if you will, around the detection. And the idea is to keep the pest from spreading outside of that line."

Lyle says agriculture department crews have released sterile male Medflies to keep female flies from producing offspring as a way to stop the pest.

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