• Short Summary

    The expensive nuisance of the screw work fly is being met by scientists in Puerto Rico who are using the flies against themselves.

  • Description

    The expensive nuisance of the screw work fly is being met by scientists in Puerto Rico who are using the flies against themselves.

    A major pest in the southern United States from Florida to Texas and throughout the Caribbean, the screw worm fly lays its eggs in scores of open places in the skins of animals (and, sometimes, humans). The larva (the actual "screw worms") cause festering and infection, sometimes leading to death.

    In the late 1950s major agricultural agencies, under the coordination of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, embarked on a programme to find a way to combat the flies.

    Very simply, they came up with the idea of suing sterile male flies to decimate the population growth of the flies.

    Male flies are subjected to radiation, making them sterile. Released by the thousands over wide areas, they mate with females, who of course produce no offspring. Since the female fly mates only once in their life cycle, that generation of lies produces no new flies.

    The programme was first tried in the State of Florida, and eliminated the screw-worm from that state by the mid 1960s -- and from all the other states where it has been used.

    The male flies used in the Puerto Ricco programme are not wild -- they're laboratory-bred. Female flies seem to make no differentiation between the two.

    The sterilised males are loaded onto light planes and scattered over large areas of the Puerto Rican countryside.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA3LYSJAZ37GMZ8WYH1DZ09EI02
    Media URN:
    VLVA3LYSJAZ37GMZ8WYH1DZ09EI02
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    16/07/1973
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:00:53:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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