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The Region : Medfly Sprayed Again

September 08, 1987

The pesticide malathion was sprayed over a 13 1/2-mile area in and around East Los Angeles, part of Los Angeles County agricultural officials' second effort to halt the progress of the crop-hungry Mediterranean fruit fly. Two helicopters on a late-night sortie sprayed the corn syrup-based pesticide throughout City Terrace, Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles neighborhoods, two weeks after a 22-square-mile area of Maywood and Huntington Park was sprayed for the pest, which if left unchecked could rack up millions of dollars in damages to California agriculture. About 100 people a day have called a special hot line with questions, and officials reiterated that the spray is not harmful to people or pets, but advised residents to cover their cars, since the gooey base that attracts the insects can also damage auto paint finishes. On Friday, agriculture officials plan to release millions of sterile Medflies to encourage the pest to breed itself into oblivion.

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