Spraying planned after fruit fly, West Nile discoveries

SANTA CLARA COUNTY — Officials planned two new rounds of pest-control efforgts after finding more West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes in San Jose and the discovery of fruit flies that carry a dire threat to local agriculture in Santa Clara.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture said it was taking “emergency action” to prevent the spread of the oriental fruit fly after two flies were found in the areas surrounding Cupertino, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale within the past month.

“It would be disastrous for the oriental fruit fly to get established in Santa Clara County and California,”  County of Santa Clara Agricultural Commissioner Joe Deviney said in a statement.

The flies, which are native to Asia but have spread to multiple islands in the Pacific Ocean, burrow into fruits and vegetables, making them inedible. In total, the fly threatens more than 200 types of foods grown in California, almost $20 billion worth of crops, according to the state agency.

Authorities also said they had detected other “suspected” fruit flies in the same area and were awaiting confirmation of those findings.

According to the state agriculture agency, oriental fruit flies can hitchhike into California when people bring home fruits and vegetables from out of state, or receive fruit in mail packages.

The treatment — which was set to begin Saturday night — will initially target the areas where the first fruit flies were located, but could expand over the next several weeks. The department will be applying bait containing a pesticide, spinosad, on street trees, utility poles and other locations 8 to 10 feet off the ground.

Officials said the fruit-fly treatment has been commonly used in California and the United States for years, and is safe for humans.

Residents who may found fruit that is infested can contact the County of Santa Clara Division of Agriculture at or 408-918-4600.

The latest West Nile discovery was confirmed in an area just south of downtown San Jose surrounding Kelley Park, county officials said in a separate news release. The Santa Clara County Vector Control District said the area would be treated starting 10 p.m. Tuesday, lasting approximately 4 hours.

Since West Nile virus arrived in California in 2003, 7,000 people have contracted the disease. The virus continues to be the disease spread most by insects in the United States, officials said this week.

Residents do not need to relocate during the operations, the district said, adding that mosquito treatments pose minimal risk to people, pets, animals, and the environment when applied by a licensed professional. But those wishing to take extra precautions can remain indoors with windows and doors shut while the operation is underway.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
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𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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