Recent Pest Finds and Eradication Efforts

Peach fruit flyPeach fruit fly finds in 2019

Between July 31st and August 14th, 2019, four peach fruit flies were found in the cities of Brentwood and Oakley on peach, fig and apple trees, as well as one non fruit-bearing ornamental tree. The Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture increased fruit fly detection efforts in the area to assess the extent of the infestation. The detection area, known as a delimitation, includes portions of Brentwood, Oakley, and a small part of Antioch. One additional peach fruit fly was also trapped in Concord on an apple tree on August 1st, 2019.

Like other invasive fruit flies, peach fruit flies present a serious threat to the natural environment and our agricultural industry. They feed on a wide range of host commodities, including stone fruit, citrus, tomatoes, pears and figs. When the flies are present, adults will lay eggs under the skin of the fruit. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae, or maggots, tunnel through the flesh, consuming the pulp. This feeding causes extensive damage to the fruit. The exit holes also allow decaying organisms to enter the fruit, which makes it inedible.

Due to the severity of the threat to our natural environment and the agricultural industry, efforts to contain and eradicate the infestation occurred after the first fruit fly find until May 15th, 2020. A treatment occurred using the organic bait Spinosad, in combination with a substance that mimics a female fruit fly pheromone. These were applied in small bait stations on trees and telephone poles in the delimitation areas of Oakley, Brentwood, and Antioch. The treatment works by attracting the male flies, which feed on the Spinosad and are killed. This ultimately breaks the lifecycle of the flies and leads to eradication.

Similar eradication projects occur periodically throughout the state when exotic fruit flies are found. These have all been successful, largely owing to the fact that there is a trapping program in place to monitor for these fruit flies, dedicated staff to manage the eradication efforts, and effective tools that provide low-toxicity treatment options. County staff and officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture work together to control fruit fly infestations when they are first detected, prevent the affected area from expanding, and eventually eradicate the fruit fly population before it become established. This important work is done to protect the environment, Contra Costa County’s local agricultural industry, and backyard gardeners, which in turn protects agriculture throughout the state.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture put out a peach fruit fly Notice of Treatment and map of proposed areas of treatment in Brentwood, Oakley, and Antioch. Additional information on the peach fruit fly can be found on the exotic fruit fly project pages. In addition, Contra Costa County put out a press release on the fruit fly finds.