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California officials have authorized fruit to be stripped from trees at over 2,000 residences in a portion of San Bernardino County to stop the spread of an invasive fly that could cause billions of dollars in damages.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced earlier this month that the trees in jeopardy contain fruit – mainly citrus and a number of other fruits – that host the Oriental fruit fly.
The trees are located in Redlands, north and south of I-10, with a northern boundary of E. Highland Avenue, a western boundary at the intersection of Garden and Elizabeth streets, an eastern boundary of Alta Vista Drive, and a southern boundary of Silver Leaf Court.
CDFA said the approach of removing the fruit from the trees will allow the agency and its partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local agricultural commissioners’ office to break the lifecycle of the invasive fly.
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Oranges and other fruits are being stripped off of about 2,000 trees in Redlands, California to prevent the spread of the invasive Oriental fruit fly. (Fox)
The fly is known to lay eggs in fruit, which then develop into larvae, or maggots, which poses a threat to residential and commercial citrus, along with over 230 crops, including berries, vegetables and nuts.
“If left unchecked, the Oriental fruit fly could become permanently established and cause billions of dollars’ worth of losses annually, which would significantly impact California’s food supply,” the state agency said.
The Oriental fruit flies is “larger than a housefly,” CDFA said, and is about one third of an inch in length. It was first discovered in the state in 1960 and has continued to reintroduce itself every year since 1966. All infestations in the state have been successfully eradicated.
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The Oriental fruit fly measures about a third of an inch in size and could be responsible for billions of dollars in damages in California if it is not eradicated. (California Department of Food and Agricutlure)
The agency also said if the infestation is not eliminated, it could cost between $44 and $176 million “in crop losses, additional pesticide use and quarantine requirements.”
The removal was expected to begin by the end of January and continue into late February.
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The agency advised residents not to remove fruit on their own, and if fruit should fall from the trees, it should be double-bagged and placed in a trash bin, not a green waste bin or any other organic refuse designations.
Greg Wehner is a breaking news reporter for Fox News Digital.
Story tips and can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter @GregWehner.