Bug hunters target oriental fruit fly

State workers will begin laying bait Friday in Santa Clara County to stop the spread of oriental fruit flies, county officials said.

The discovery of two flies in Los Altos Hills and Los Altos, has prompted an eradication effort, county officials said. One turned up June 29 and the other July 1, Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner Joe Deviney said.

He said the find is one of several in the county this year:

“It is a whole new area.”

Six flies turned up in Cupertino from June 22 and 24, which prompted a separate eradication effort, county officials said.

That effort began June 27 and will last for eight or nine weeks, according to the county.

State workers apply bait to street trees and utility poles to kill male flies.

Deviney said:

“The traps work very well.”

He said oriental fruit flies pose a “devastating” threat to fruits and vegetables in California, which “accounts for about half of the harvested fruit acreage” in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Deviney said:

“Everywhere you grow citrus, you grow these flies.”