Melon fruit fly found in Sanger area trap

SANGER, Calif.

Action News has learned on Monday a single melon fruit fly was discovered in a trap in a Sanger area vineyard. Because of the find, Fresno County Ag Department workers are setting traps within a five-mile radius of the initial discovery near Minnewawa and Central.

Deputy Ag Commissioner Tye Hafner said the melon fruit fly feeds on several crops grown in the Valley such as melons, citrus and cucumbers.

Hafner said, "Unfortunately this is one of the dangerous, crop damaging pests that we have."

But Hafner found it odd the pest was stuck inside a European Grapevine Moth trap. The pest isn't known to feed on grapes. "The trap would not be attractive to the fruit fly at all so it's just a fluke find that the fly found its way into a moth trap."

Several melon fruit flies were found in Kern County last year. The discovery prompted a quarantine of crops grown in a 90 square mile area.

Hafner said, "The growers in that area, especially vegetable growers, they had to plow down a number of acres of peppers and cucumbers, watermelon."

By Friday 900 new traps will have been set in the Sanger area. They will be checked on a daily basis. Ag officials hope it is an isolated case.

Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League said of the additional traps, "You want to go out and see if the finding is true and if it's related or not."

Cunha added pests can often hitch-hike on produce brought in from outside the area. "When you're traveling this summer remember don't bring back any products. Don't bring back flowers, don't bring back fruit somebody dried somewhere."

If another melon fruit fly is found, it would trigger a quarantine in the Sanger area. If that happened, fields would have to be treated and growers would face several restrictions and be prohibited from shipping.

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