Invasive fruit fly puts large portion of SCV in produce quarantine 

Map of the Tau Fruit Fly quarantine area in the Santa Clarita Valley provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

An invasive fruit fly put nearly 79 square miles of the Santa Clarita Valley on a fruit and vegetable quarantine, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  

The department urged residents living in the quarantine area to not move any fruits and vegetables from their property — they can be juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal at the property where they were picked, otherwise they are to be disposed of by double-bagging them in plastic bags and thrown out.  

The quarantine area is bordered on the north by Castaic Junction, on the south by Oat Mountain, on the west by Del Valle and on the east by Honby Avenue. 

A photo of the Tau fruit fly provided by the California department of Food and Agriculture.

The Food and Agriculture Department placed the quarantine after detecting more than 20 flies in Stevenson Ranch. The fly, known as the Tau fruit fly, is believed to have been introduced by travelers bringing uninspected produce into California. 

“The fly is native to Asia and is a serious pest for agriculture and natural resources, with a very wide host range, including numerous fruits and vegetables as well as a select range of native plants in California,” read a statement released on Tuesday.  

The Department of Food and Agriculture is working with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Los Angeles County agricultural commissioner to implement a “multi-tiered” approach to eliminate the fly and prevent it from spreading.  

Any property within 200 meters of detections will most likely be visited by staff of any of the aforementioned agencies who will cut host fruit and vegetables to inspect for larvae. Properties may also be treated with an organic material known as Spinosad — which kills adult flies.  

The Tau fly likes most fruits and vegetables and will lay eggs in them for the larvae to tunnel through and feed. The process usually leaves the interior rotten, but may go undetected to the unsuspecting eye.  

The first detection of the fly was in 2006 in San Bernardino County. Since then, three re-introductions have been eradicated.  

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