Air-Dropping Mediterranean Fruit Flies Over California

When I was living in California in the 1980s (got better!), the state government responded to an infestation of the invasive Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata, “Medfly”) by spraying with the safe and effective organophosphate insecticide malathion. The Safetyland brain virus was already beginning to spread there faster than insect pests, and this created an outcry among the barely sentient denizens of the state, who dubbed witless governor Jerry Brown “Lord of the Flies” and protested this protection of one of California’s principal industries from foreign invaders. (“Same as it ever was.”)

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is breeding male medflies by the millions, sterilising them by irradiation from cobalt-60 or cæsium-137, and releasing them from aircraft flying over areas prone to outbreaks, such as Los Angeles. Around 24 million sterile flies are air-dropped a day.

Since I have nothing but the best wishes for California and those who choose to live there (until they fly, like locusts, to other territories and inoculate them with their infectious ignorance), I’m tempted to start spreading rumours that irradiation of medflies has begun to mutate some of them into radioactive Kaiju which have been increasingly spotted in urban locations at night and may be responsible for the growing wave of unexplained disappearances among the unhoused population of cities in the Glutton State.