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Controlling Medflies

March 12, 1994

The "eradication at all costs" approach to the Medfly problem in Southern California is one of the reasons that the state Department of Agriculture resorts to aerial assaults on residents with malathion.

Common sense tells us that it is difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate any insect, especially "bad" ones, and most attempts result in strong comebacks by the undesirable insects after their natural enemies are also destroyed.

A more reasonable approach would be to control the flies with ground spraying and sterile flies.

The department also tries to make a case for aerial spraying by asking us to believe that the $20-billion farm industry in California would be destroyed if they don't use aerial spraying. Has farming been destroyed in Hawaii? In Florida?

Does the threat of a Japanese boycott of products cause a program that puts economic interests above health and environmental interests of residents in Southern California?

Again, a much more common sense approach is control rather than eradication.

ROGER JEFFRIES

Orange

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