White Striped Fruit Fly - Bactrocera albistrigata
What is Happening?
An exotic insect pest
is a species that is not native to California,
is not established here, and could be harmful. Different
exotic insect pests may be harmful to different
things, including one or more of the following:
fruits, vegetables, other plants, stored food,
native animal species, structures, and human
Please note that
this is why bringing fruits, vegetables,
or plant materials into California without
official inspection can be illegal.
White Striped Fruit Fly Specimen
Photo provided by Dr. Jason Leathers,
Department of Food and Agriculture
The White Striped Fruit Fly
is an exotic insect pest that poses a threat to
fruits, vegetables, and other plants. Until
July 9, 2009, this species had never before been
officially documented in the Western Hemisphere.
As of this update, eight specimens
have been found in Los Angeles County, all in or
around La Verne, San Dimas, and Pomona. The
most recent find was on July 22.
About This Pest
This species is normally found
on Christmas Island (a territory of Australia),
the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India), Indonesia
(Java, Lombok, Sulawesi, Sumatra), peninsular Malaysia,
and southern Thailand. It
is known to attack guava, mango, carambola, tropical
almond, Singapore almond, jackfruit, clove, watery
rose-apple, rose apple, Malay-apple, water apple, and
a number of Asian trees occasionally planted as ornamentals. The
species may attack additional fruits, vegetables, and
plants, although this hasn’t been documented
yet, possibly because the White Striped Fruit Fly hasn’t
had the opportunity to encounter them.
The damage occurs after the
female lays eggs in the fruit. These eggs hatch into larvae, or maggots,
which tunnel through the flesh of the fruit. Decay
organisms enter the fruit, leaving the interior of
the fruit a rotten mass, making it unfit for consumption. Because
of this, the White Striped Fruit Fly is a threat to
home-grown fruits and vegetables, and professional
What is Being Done to Fight This Pest?
The California Department of Food and Agriculture
is currently working to eradicate this infestation
of White Striped Fruit Fly with four different actions:
1) Eradication traps, otherwise
known as bait stations. A thousand traps
per square mile have been placed over a fifteen square-mile
area. These traps use a small mixture of
cuelure and naled to lure and kill male fruit flies. The
traps are placed in or on trees, shrubs, or other
inanimate objects. California has used this
same approach for more than 30 years for exotic
2) Larval surveys/fruit
surveys, or looking for larvae, may be performed
up to 200 meters around any property where a
specimen was trapped. If larvae are present,
fruit from the infested and adjacent properties
may be removed for disposal by state personnel.
Residents of affected properties will be notified
in writing at least 24 hours prior to removal of the
3) Ground spraying. Any
property where larvae, a mated female specimen,
or evidence of a breeding population is found
may be treated by spraying shrubs with a small
amount of an organic formulation of spinosad
protein bait. Visit the CDFA website to learn
more about the treatment process at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/videos/spinosad/.
Properties within a 200 meter radius may also be treated.
Residents of affected properties will be notified
in writing at least 24 hours prior to treatment.
4) Quarantine. A quarantine
restricts the movement of certain fruits, vegetables,
and plant materials through the area or out of
How Did This Pest Get Here?
We don’t know for sure. With modern shipping
and travel, exotic pests can get from one side of the
planet to the other in mere hours. Extensive
pest exclusion policies and procedures do prevent many
potential infestations. However, whether a pest
avoids these safeguards on its own, or hitches a ride
with illegally smuggled items - whether the smuggler
intended to smuggle or was simply unaware of the law
- some do get into Los Angeles County.
We place and monitor thousands
of insect pest detection traps all over the county. When
we find an exotic pest, the California Department
of Agriculture will place delimitation traps in that
area to determine if there is a problem.
What Can I Do to Help?
Do not bring back uninspected fruits, vegetables,
or plant material from outside of the state or country.
Discourage friends and family from out of the state
or country from sending you these items unless they
are can be officially inspected.
If you live in the area under the White Striped Fruit
Fly quarantine, do not remove fruits, vegetables, or
plant material from the quarantine area.
Report the illegal movement
of fruits, vegetables, and plant material. Report
fruit fly maggots (spindle-shaped, cream or white-colored
with no visible head or legs.): California Department
of Food and Agriculture Exotic Pest Hotline: 1-800-491-1899.
For More Information
Please see the California Department of Food and Agriculture