July 15, 2024
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Second agriculture quarantine declared in Ventura County


The Ventura and Los Angeles Counties quarantine boundary lines. (courtesy photo)

For the second time this month, portions of Ventura County have been placed under quarantine by agriculture officials.

The latest quarantine is centered in Thousand Oaks.

The state Department of Food and Agriculture announced Oct. 24 that the quarantine for the Queensland fruit fly was imposed following the detection of two adult flies in the city.

The quarantine is also for portions of bordering Los Angeles County.

The quarantine area in both counties measures 76 square miles, bordered on the north by Tierra Rejada Golf Club; on the south by Las Virgenes Reservoir; on the west by Wildwood Park; and on the east by Agoura Hills.  

“Agriculture is the backbone of our great county,” Thousand Oaks Mayor Kevin McNamee said in a statement to the Business Times.

“If we all pull together as a community, adhering to the quarantine requisites, we can safeguard our cherished crops and the investments we’ve made in our farms,” he said.

McNamee added that, “working as one, we can leave an indelible mark on this effort to eradicate this troublesome invasive species.”

Earlier this month, the state declared a five-mile radius citrus tree quarantine following the detection of Huanglongbing disease in two of the trees in Santa Paula.

The Queensland fruit fly, native to Australia, is a serious pest to the state’s agriculture and natural resources, and is known to target more than 175 fruits, vegetables, and plant commodities, the agriculture department said.

Important California crops at risk include numerous fruits such as grapes, strawberries, figs, citruses, avocados, apricots, peaches, cherries, nectarines, plums, pears, and apples.

Also at risk are vegetables such as tomatoes and sweet peppers, agriculture officials said. 

Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit. The eggs hatch into maggots, which tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.  

“This has been a record year for fruit fly detections,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a press release.

“The stakes are high,” she said. “Help us protect our commercial and backyard gardens from invasive fruit flies – please ‘Don’t Pack a Pest’ when you travel, and don’t mail packages carrying unmarked fruits and vegetables to California.”

To prevent the spread of fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the Queensland fruit fly quarantine area are urged not to move any fruits and vegetables from their properties. 

Fruits and vegetables may be consumed or processed — juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal — at the property where they were picked, officials say.

If they are not consumed or processed, they should be disposed of by double-bagging them in plastic bags and putting the bags in the garbage bin for collection, not green waste, according to the agriculture department.

email: mharris@pacbiztimes.com