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Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY : 38 Million Sterile Medflies Spread by Airplanes

July 28, 1993

About 38 million sterile Medflies were released from airplanes Tuesday over the northern San Fernando Valley, the start of an invasion of sterile flies intended to combat the first outbreak of the crop-destroying pests in the Valley since 1990. Another 4 million were released at ground level Tuesday.

Agricultural officials, who have also imposed a fruit and vegetable quarantine on a 76-square mile area, expect to release 42 million sterile flies a week for at least the next eight months. The releases are aimed at exterminating the wild flies, which produce no offspring after mating with sterile flies.

The releases were ordered after 36 wild Mediterranean fruit flies were discovered in traps in Granada Hills and Mission Hills. The area being inundated by sterile flies includes all or part of Porter Ranch, San Fernando, Sylmar, Mission Hills, Granada Hills and Northridge.

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