A Persimmon Orchard at Montague Expressway and Seely Avenue in San Jose

(Photo credit: Matt Bigler/KCBS Radio)

Officials Will Try Eradicating Invasive, 'Exotic' Insect

Carrie Hodousek
July 11, 2019 - 12:10 pm

PALO ALTO — Agriculture officials are launching an eradication campaign after an invasive species was found in Palo Alto.

Two peach fruit flies were found and trapped in residential neighborhoods in recent weeks. The species got its name because it is known to attack peaches and more than 50 types of fruits and vegetables.

“This is an exotic insect. It should not be here,” said Santa Clara County Agriculture Commissioner Joe Deviney.

State and local officials are working together on a campaign to stop the pests before the infestation spreads. Trained workers will spray a small amount of insecticide within a 1.5 mile radius of where the flies were initially spotted.

“With the lure, the insects really go to that specific spot so we don’t have to do any broad casting or large scale spraying,” says Deviney. “It’s just a squirt onto a street tree about 10 or so feet up and then that’ll draw the flies in.”

Because lure is also an insecticide, male flies that eat the material should eradicate them and prevent the species from growing.

The flies are native to South Asia and the Pacific, and it is still unclear how they got here in the first place, but Deviney suspects a resident may have brought them here unwittingly.

“Please be careful when traveling or bringing things or shipping things,” he said. “You might be shipping something that contains an invasive species that could cause damage to our agriculture and a lot of the wonderful food that we have here.”