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    Parts of LB plus Signal Hill Utility/Phone Poles, Tree Trunks Being Squirted With "Male Annihilation" Pesticide-Laced Bait To Kill Guava Fruit Fly; Most People Won't Notice, Agency Says

    (August 12, 2005) -- After trapping a second Guava Fruit Fly (a pest that destroys frutis, vegeatables and other commodities) in L.A. on August 11, the CA Dept. of Dept. of Food and Agriculture has announced that on Aug. 12 trucks began driving slowly through part of Long Beach plus Signal Hill spraying small patches of "pheromone attractant" mixed with a "small dose of pesticide" onto utility poles, light poles and street trees roughly 6-8 feet off the ground.

    The County agency says the squirted "bait stations" will be within a 14 square-mile area (described below) at a density of roughly 600 such locations per square mile. The procedures will continue on Monday Aug. 15 and Tuesday Aug. 16 and will be repeated at two week intervals for a minimum of four applications.

    "No aerial bait treatments are planned. The male annihilation treatment is unobtrusive and most residents are unaware it is going on," said County agency said.

    Notification of the action came via an Aug. 11 faxed message to LB city management from the L.A. County Agricultural Commissioner's office. The County Agricultural agency indicates it approved the action. City Hall provided the notice to LB media outlets including this afternoon (Aug. 12).

    The County agency's faxed notice includes a map of the area affected but is of poor quality and nearly indecepherable. We were unable to find the text information or a digital version of the map on CA Dept. of Food and Agriculture or L.A. County Dept. of Agriculture websites (as of Aug. 12). As best we can tell from the primitive, poor quality faxed map, the area affected appears to be as follows (starting from LB's southeast corner):

  • Southern boundary: From PCH/2d St (ELB Marina area), westward along 2d St. to Livington to Ocean Blvd., then westward to LB Blvd.
  • Western boundary: LB Blvd. northward from Ocean Blvd. to Spring St.
  • Northern boundary: Spring St. eastward from LB Blvd., continuing east to Clark Ave., then further eastward along 405 freeway to Palo Verde Ave.
  • Eastern boundary: Palo Verde Ave. southward from 405 to Atherton St,, then westward on Atherton St, to Bellflower Blvd., then south on Bellflower Blvd. to PCH, then south on PCH to 2d St.
  • The County Agricultural Commissioner's release says the "Guava Fruit Fly is one of the world's most destructive insect pests. Its immature or maggot stafe, feeds on dozens of different fruits and vegetables. Originally from Asia, it is occasionally intercepted in Los Angeles County." The release adds, "The Guava Fruit Fly female lays eggs inside many varieties of fruit, vegetables and other commodities. The eggs hatch into maggots that tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption."

    The "male annihilation" method lures males with the pheromone...who consume the pesticide-laced bait and die before they can mate. The bait is sprayed at two-week week intervals for two life cycles beyond the last fly find...with a minimum of four applications

    A "quarantine" zone has also been established in the area...and "homeowners and people moving through the quarantine zone and urfged not to remove fruits and vegetables from the area," the L.A. County Agricultural Commissioner's office says.

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