The fast-reproducing Medfly, which spoils produce by laying its eggs in the crops, might have been eradicated last year had aerial spraying been undertaken with the pesticide Malathion.
Instead, bowing to pressure from environmentalists, California Gov.
Recently Gilstrap and Adkisson discussed the destructive pest with Kent Demaret of PEOPLE.
Why has a 13-month campaign failed to bring the Medfly under control?
It’s extremely unfortunate that politicians take guidance from people who are unreasonable. Also, it’s impossible to track down every last one of those backyard trees: Some are behind locked gates.
They didn’t immediately begin stripping fruit off trees to deprive the fly of its egg-laying sites.
The ancient Chinese used to stretch bamboo poles between the branches of citrus trees so that ants could walk from one to another and eat destructive pests. Gilstrap: That’s exactly what I’m going to do in early 1982.
By this time next year, we should have a natural predator for the pest.
Called to Sacramento, we sat right across from Governor Brown. Adkisson: We don’t think aerial spraying is riskier in agricultural applications, and it’s the most effective way to treat large and tall crops. In the dosages being used in California it is nontoxic to mammals. Gilstrap: By blocking the synapses in an insect’s nervous system, it paralyzes the pest’s vital functions.
Face to face, I personally explained the urgency of the situation. In California, however, the affected areas have not been the farms but the suburban residential counties south of San Francisco. And it breaks down in about three days to harmless biodegradable materials. People, however, have in their livers a powerful enzyme that renders it harmless.
You both sound as if you consider pesticides a panacea. We advocate what is called integrated pest management, in which pesticides are a second line of defense. They are not like our familiar wasps, but tiny things about the size of gnats.