A Mediterranean fruit fly, an invasive pest, was recently detected in Half Moon Bay so 200 fly traps have been placed in the area, San Mateo County officials said Monday.
The traps are being placed over roughly 17 square miles surrounding the coastside property where the fly was trapped, and county officials are trying to determine whether it was a single introduction or the presence of a breeding population.
County Agricultural Commissioner Fred Crowder said in a statement:
“Early detection and control of Mediterranean fruit fly is critical to not only prevent impacts to the agricultural and urban communities, but prevent the imposition of quarantines by trading partners preventing the sale and movement of California crops.”
The Mediterranean fruit fly is considered the most important agricultural pest in the world, targeting more than 250 different fruits by laying eggs inside them. The eggs hatch into maggots and tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, county officials said.
The species is native to Africa but has spread to southern Europe, Australia, Hawaii and other locations. It was first trapped in California in 1975, county officials said.
Residents are asked to prevent infestations by not bringing or mailing fresh fruit, vegetables, plants or soil into California unless agricultural inspectors clear the shipment.
Anyone with questions about the project can call the county agricultural commissioner’s office at (650) 363-4700 or the state Department of Food and Agriculture pest hotline at (800) 491-1899.