November 23, 2015
Photo by Kelsey Bailey.
Insects inspire wonder, curiosity, fear or disgust, but very few have caused the widespread panic, political controversy, and public outcry like the Mediterranean fruit fly. Shortly after appearing in California in the early 1980s, the saga of the Medfly erupted into a battle between the Agricultural Industry and the residents of the affected counties, with local politicians wedged firmly in between. As an entomologist from L.A., the aerial spraying of pesticide over the city to combat the Medfly that happened so long ago is still one of the topics I am most often asked about. It is firmly etched in many Angelenos’ memories, but most are unaware of what became of this notorious little fly.