In contrast to official opinion, a scientist warns that the latest Mediterranean fruit fly discoveries underscore his belief that the pest is entrenched in California.
More than 100 flies have turned up in the San Jose area in the past week. At least 11 were discovered in traps in Pasadena. Both areas are under quarantine.Rather than brought in with smuggled fruit, which is the position of a state advisory panel and government eradicators, the Medfly population is entrenched and resurges periodically, said James R. Carey, an entomologist at the University of California, Davis.
"It's consistent with my argument all along that they are reappearing in the same areas," said Carey, a member of the panel for the state Department of Food and Agriculture.
The medfly is never truly eliminated, he said Friday. Eradication programs only kill enough of the flies so they are not detected in traps, Carey said.
Medfly infestations begin with maggot-infested fruit brought in from Hawaii, Latin America or Europe, said Roy Cunningham, chairman of the panel of scientists.
"If you look at records of air traffic, travel has increased enormously in the last 20 years," said Cunningham.
"The immigrant population has increased enormously in the last 20 years. Carey throws out all evidence of smuggled fruit," Cunningham said.
Cunningham said Carey's view of a medfly population that isn't detectable is unscientific because it can never be disproved.