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Medfly and other Exotic Fruit Fly Control Efforts Topic of Sept. 16 Presentation at UCR

Medfly and other Exotic Fruit Fly Control Efforts Topic of Sept. 16 Presentation at UCR

(July 2, 1999)

Insect pests like the red imported fire ant and Africanized honey bee have been grabbing headlines as they advance into Southern California urban communities and threaten city dwellers with their stings.

But another group of "exotic" insects - fruit flies - are considered a major threat the state's $26.8 billion agricultural industry. These insects pests, including the notorious Mediterranean fruit fly, will be the subject of a public presentation scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the University of California, Riverside.

Some of the nation's leading scientists studying fruit flies will share their recent findings aimed at combating invasions of these insects, known as "exotics" because they not native to California. Exotic insects migrate into the state or hitch a ride on planes, trains, trucks, ships and automobiles carrying agricultural products.

Among the topics of the Sept. 14 presentation will be fruit fly eradication strategies, development of new trapping methods and potential biotechnology solutions to such pest invasions. Participating scientists will also discuss future research priorities.

A target for much of the research is the Mediterranean fruit fly. A permanent infestation of Medfly would cost California agriculture an estimated $1 billion each year in reduced crop yields, export sanctions and eradication costs. In recent years, the state's primary line of defense has been the weekly release of sterile medflies in Southern California to prevent any undetected medflies from reproducing.

The presentation is organized by the University of California Center for Exotic Pest Research, headquartered at UCR; the California Department of Food and Agriculture; the California Citrus Research Board; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

UC's Center for Exotic Pest Research focuses on the unique problems posed by exotic pests and is responsible for coordinating the research and extension response of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The presentation will be held at the UCR Extension Center, 1200 University Ave. in Riverside.

Pre-registration including lunch is $25 per person by Aug. 27; registration at the door is $35. Continuing education credit for pest control advisors is pending.

For more information, call Lisa Arth at (909) 787-7292 or e-mail to

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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