Jay Van Rein, a spokesperson for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, revealed that millions of flies harvested at military bases were to be dropped over Los Angeles to sterilize an invasive species of Asian fruit fly.
California is preparing to release millions of fruit flies in the affected area in order to tackle the infestation of an invasive species of Asian fruit flies that has put it under quarantine.
In July, 69 square miles of the Los Angeles region—including portions of downtown and South Los Angeles, Hyde Park, Baldwin Hills, Culver City, Inglewood, Pico-Robertson, and Mid-Wilshire—were placed under quarantine by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
“There’s a chance you might see them: small twin-engine airplanes circling over the city, unleashing hundreds of thousands of insects marked with a unique purple dye,” reads an SFGate report. If you live in Los Angeles. And even while it might seem strange, it will probably start to happen frequently.
The idea is to introduce males who are sterile as a kind of fertility control.
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“Jay Van Rein, a spokesperson for the CDFA, told SFGATE that the agency plans to unleash 250,000 sterile male fruit flies per square mile in a 9-square-mile region near the infestation site every week — and it could take six months if not longer, to fully eradicate the current population.”
The report continues, “Ken Pellman, a press representative for the Los Angeles County Agriculture Department, said that the bugs, which are marked with a special purple dye, are first harvested at a military base in Los Alamitos and then loaded onto an airplane. Then, once the plane reaches liftoff, ‘they’re just released out of the bottom of the cabin,’ he told SFGATE over the phone.”
“It’s quite an interesting operation down there,” he said.
Dr. Haider said, adding that the ‘Hidden Harms’ of bioengineered foods include the potential for the food itself to be toxic, cause allergic reactions, or promote antibiotic resistance.
It has been recommended to residents in the quarantine region not to remove any fruits or vegetables from their land and to double bag any that they discard.
It is projected that the insects might harm the state’s agriculture by $1.8 billion a year if they are not contained.