Millions of Fruit Flies Will Be Dropped On Los Angeles

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    “Earlier this month, the California Department of Food and Agriculture quarantined 69 square miles of metro L.A. after invasive and destructive Mediterranean fruit flies were found at a home in the Leimert Park neighborhood,” notes The Hill. Officials are now planning to use small planes to drop millions of fruit flies over Los Angeles in an effort to eradicate an invasive and destructive species of the insects. From the report: Jay Van Rein, a spokesperson for the CDFA, told SFGATE that officials plan to drop approximately 250,000 sterile male fruit flies per square mile in the quarantine area every week for six months, or perhaps longer. The sterile males mate with the females, which fail to produce offspring, reducing the population over time. Van Rein says the Preventative Release Program (PRP), as it’s called, has been used effectively to manage invasive species since 1996. The quarantine radius includes parts of downtown and South L.A., Hyde Park, Baldwin Hills, Culver City, Inglewood, Pico-Robertson and Mid-Wilshire. Those who live within the zone are urged not to transport any fruits or vegetables from their property and to double-bag them in plastic before tossing them in the trash. The Mediterranean fruit fly is very tiny — only about 1/4 inch in length — but they can potentially cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to crops if left unchecked, officials said. When a female lays eggs in a fruit or vegetable, they hatch into maggots that tunnel through it and cause rot. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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