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The Fly That's Eating California


In Business This Week

THE FLY THAT'S EATING CALIFORNIA

California's $18 billion farm sector, already beset by drought and a lackluster economy, faces another crippling foe. The poinsettia whitefly, a two-millimeter-long pest that threatens to do more damage than even the state's notorious medfly, is already munching its way through the Imperial Valley. And as known pesticides prove useless against it, the voracious bug is spreading northward from the state's southern border. California officials worry that the insect will soon land in the vast San Joaquin Valley, the state's agricultural center.

Figuring that the whitefly will return to Imperial County next summer, farmers are talking about cutting off all irrigation. They might be willing to lose a year's crops if they could kill off the bug.EDITED BY HARRIS COLLINGWOOD


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