FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A new study shows fruit flies that are highly destructive to crops are now permanently established in California and spreading.

The study, published Wednesday, finds that despite decades of costly eradication efforts by state officials, the Mediterranean Fruit Fly and the Oriental Fruit Fly have not been eliminated. The study also finds the flies are not brought in by visitors from outside the country as authorities claim.

The flies’ populations are currently low. But study co-author and University of California, Davis entomologist James Carey says California’s $43.5 billion agricultural industry could be devastated in the future if the state does not change its strategy to control the flies.

State agriculture officials say their methods are effective and their approach would be the same even if the populations were established.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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