One of my biggest pet peeves is dealing with fruit flies. Don’t you hate seeing those slow-flying, pesky bugs hanging around your kitchen counter when you accidentally leave a banana lying around for too long?
Well, in California, officials are planning to fly in and drop over two million sterile male fruit flies into Los Angeles. But before you freak out, you should know it’s for a good reason.
In October, agricultural officials found two fruit flies in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles. Once found, they led to the California Department Of Food And Agriculture placing 69 square miles of land in quarantine and eventually going through a fruit removal process in certain areas.
While two fruit flies may not sound like that big of a deal, it’s the kind of fruit fly that has panicked officials. The two fruit flies found were Mediterranean fruit flies, also known as medflies.
Although these fruit flies are native to sub-Saharan Africa, they’ve been found in Mediterranian regions and often make their way around when people unknowingly travel with infected produce.
So why are medflies so alarming?
Well, they absolutely destroy produce. Medflies are a very invasive species. The female medfly lays her eggs inside of over 250 kinds of produce.
Once her eggs are laid, the eggs hatch into pesky maggots, which dig tunnels through the produce, eventually causing it to rot and become inedible.
An infestation of medflies in California can cause major damage not only to local growers and their produce but to California’s lucrative agricultural industry as a whole.
To combat a potential infestation and hopefully wipe out any potentially massive medfly population in Los Angeles, the California Department Of Food And Agriculture will gradually be flying in and releasing over two million male fruit flies that were grown at a military base in Los Alamitos into Los Angeles.