(Oct. 26) For the third time in less than two months, a Mediterranean fruit fly infestation has been discovered in California. The latest finds, a total of four female medflies, were in the coastal communities of Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills in Los Angeles County. They mark the first discoveries of the pest in Southern California since 2001, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

In an Oct. 25 news release, the state agency indicated it would begin eradication efforts Oct. 26 with crews applying ground treatments in a 200-meter radius of each find. The eradication program will include weekly aerial releases of more than 3 million sterile male fruit flies beginning Oct. 27 over a 13 square-mile area.

The Department of Food and Agriculture is drafting a quarantine designed to prevent the spread of the medfly via host plants.

The first of the state’s medfly infestation this year was in early September in the rural community of Dixon, 25 miles southwest of Sacramento. It was the first medfly discovery in the San Joaquin Valley in 25 years, said the department’s director of public affairs, Steve Lyle, when the infestation was announced.

Five female medflies were discovered in traps in San Jose between Sept. 18 and Oct. 10, the first discovery of the insect in the San Jose area since 2005. The weekly release of more than 2.5 million sterile male flies began Oct. 12.