Lessons of the Medfly

Dec 12, 2013

UC Davis Entomology professor James Carey with some of the maps he used to trace the annual re-emergency of medflies in California. He believes the pest is now established in the state, and yearly eradication efforts should be rethought.
Credit UC Davis

The Mediterranean fruit fly is a serious threat to California agriculture. But widespread yearly pesticide spraying has not been effective in eradicating the pest, and state officials seem unwilling to acknowledge that.  Bruce Robinson reports.

UC Davis Entomology Professor Carey says he used the state’s own data on medfly appearances to conclude that eradication efforts have failed.

The medfly, up close and personal.
Credit UC Davis

  But he also understands why CDFA is reluctant to publicly acknowledge that failure.

Nan Wishner of the California Environmental Health Initiative, contends that it is long past time to explore alterative medly control strategies, and reduce pesticide spraying.