The Oriental fruit fly, a potential threat to the state's $15.5-billion agriculture industry, has infested part of the San Gabriel Valley for the second consecutive year.
An eradication effort relying on limited insecticide spraying and traps has begun in two West Covina neighborhoods where flies have been detected since mid-June.
Unlike eradication of the Mediterranean fruit fly, which can involve aerial spraying or the introduction of sterile male insects, control of the Oriental fly is relatively simple, said Gera Curry, spokeswoman for the state Department of Food and Agriculture, which oversees eradication efforts.
"We get it so often, it almost has come to be routine," said.
Curry said the "male annihilation technique" will be used, in which about 600 blobs of insecticide--scented to attract male flies--will be sprayed on trees, utility pools and street signs in the affected neighborhoods over the next two months.
"It's very simple," Curry said. "Killing off all the males of the generation leaves no progeny. It only takes a couple of months. "
All fruit and foliage will be stripped from properties where flies are trapped. Spraying and trapping will then continue within a three-square-mile area around infested sites.
Last year, outbreaks of the Oriental fruit fly in Pasadena and Hacienda Heights were controlled in the same manner.