A portion of California’s Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine after an invasive fruit fly that’s native to Asia was spotted in the area.
Nearly 80 square miles are under quarantine in an effort to stop the Tau fly from reproducing and taking over the area after more than 20 flies were discovered in Stevenson Ranch, the California Department of Food and Agriculture said.
Residents in the zone are forbidden from removing any fruits and vegetables from their homes and must dispose of them by double-bagging the trash, according to the department.
The bug is “a serious pest for agriculture and natural resources,” the state department said.
The department is treating the bugs with an organic-approved material that will help remove adult flies.
The Tau fly feeds on a vast array of fruits and vegetables, including cucurbits, avocado, citrus, tomatoes, and peppers — running the crops.
Female flies lay eggs under the skin of fruit and larvae tunnel through the fruit until they reach full development.
Investigators believe the fly was brought to the US by travelers bringing uninspected fruit into the country.
The quarantine order is the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, police said.
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