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Sacramento, Yolo counties end Oriental fruit fly quarantine

Backyard fruit no longer is under quarantine from the Oriental fruit fly
in a 123-square-mile area of Sacramento and Yolo counties.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Pest finally eradicated after August find in south Sacramento

The quarantine is over! The dreaded Oriental fruit fly has been eradicated in Sacramento County.

On Wednesday, the state Department of Food and Agriculture announced the eradication of this pest, found last August in the Lemon Hill neighborhood of south Sacramento. A 123-square-mile area in Sacramento and Yolo counties has been in quarantine ever since.

After nine months of trapping and monitoring, officials determined the threat was over. In total, 15 males and one female were found.

The quarantine led to tenting at farmers markets and a ban of transportation of fruit outside the effected area.

"CDFA, the USDA, the Yolo County Agricultural Commissioner and the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner acknowledge and thank local area residents and businesses for their cooperation in preventing the movement of backyard fruit and allowing property access to perform critical eradication activities," the release said.
(Courtesy CDFA)

Native to southern Asia, the Oriental fruit fly attacks more than 230 crops, making it one of the worse agricultural pests in the state. The female flies tunnel into fruit and vegetables to lay eggs. The eggs hatch into maggots that feed on the food around them, making it unfit for human consumption.

While this threat is over, ag officials urged residents to stay vigilant.

"The vast majority (of Oriental fruit flies) are found in urban and suburban communities," the release noted. "The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by 'hitchhiking' in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers when they return from infested regions of the world."

For more on the Oriental fruit fly:


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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