Over 2,000 homeowners in San Bernardino County are set to lose the fruit from their trees, regardless of their preferences, as state agriculture officials make urgent efforts to eliminate the invasive Oriental fruit fly.
In an effort to prevent the spread of pests and diseases, workers are currently conducting a door-to-door fruit removal operation in the Redlands area. This initiative, led by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, aims to remove all citrus trees and other fruit-producing plants until February.
The fruit removal is deemed “mandatory” and should only be carried out by CDFA and other contracted workers, as stated by the department. “Residents are being urged to refrain from picking fruit from trees on their own and are reminded that they are not allowed to transport produce from their property.”
The area impacted encompasses properties both north and south of the 10 Freeway. According to a CDFA map, the northern boundary is located at East Highland Avenue, while the western boundary is marked by the intersection of Garden and Elizabeth streets. On the other hand, the eastern boundary is defined by Alta Vista Drive, and the southern boundary is identified as Silver Leaf Court.
Residents are being advised to double-bag any fallen fruit and dispose of it in their regular trash bin, rather than their green waste recycling bin.
A species of fly, known as the Oriental fruit fly, has become a major concern for California’s agriculture industry. These flies, with their distinctive yellow and black appearance resembling tiny bees, are infesting crops and posing a threat to the state’s vital agricultural sector.
Insects deposit their eggs inside the fruit, which then hatch into larvae that burrow through the crops.
The CDFA has warned that if the Oriental fruit fly is not controlled, it could establish a permanent presence and result in billions of dollars in annual losses, posing a significant threat to California’s food supply.
Several species have recently led to quarantines, including the Queensland fruit fly, the Tau fly, and the Mediterranean fruit fly.
In a recent initiative, the agriculture department implemented a Preventative Release Program in Los Angeles. This program involved the strategic release of millions of sterile Mediterranean fruit flies. According to officials, this method has been successful in curbing the population of these pests.