Oriental fruit flies are known to target more than 230 different types of fruits, vegetables and plants. The female flies lay eggs inside the fruit, and the eggs hatch into maggots that tunnel through the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.
The CDFA's eradication program relies on a process known as "male attractant," in which workers squirt a small patch of fly attractant mixed with pesticide about 8-10 feet off the ground to light poles, street trees and other surfaces. The male flies are attracted to the mixture and die after consuming it, the Imperial Valley News reported.
The treatment will be repeated at two-week intervals, with a minimum of four applications.
The flies generally sneak in to California by hitchhiking in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers returning from infested regions around the world, said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura.
"Summer and fall are the most active seasons for fruit flies in our state," Kawamura said. "Now more than ever, we urge Californians who travel abroad not to bring back fruits, vegetables, seeds or other prohibited plant material. Every pest infestation we can prevent saves our state money, reduces pesticide use and protects our environment and food supply."
Residents with questions can call the department's pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899. A map of the treatment area has been posted at cdfa.ca.gov.