Why California's Fruit Fly Invasion Is in a Crisis Mode

A noted authority on California's tropical fruit fly invasion says the state is in "crisis mode."

"It's really serious," says UC Davis distinguished professor James R. Carey, a noted authority on the invasion of tropical fruit flies.

Professor Carey will discuss his findings at a UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminar at 4:10 p.m., Monday, June 3 in Room 122 of Briggs Hall. His seminar, titled "California's Fruit Fly Invasion Crisis," also will be on Zoom. The Zoom link:
https://ucdavis.zoom.us/j/9 5882849672.

"After seven decades of near-continuous outbreaks in scores of California cities, tephritid fruit fly invasions (e.g., Mediterranean, oriental, peach, and Mexican fruit flies) are reaching critical mass, with many of the annual eradication programs morphing into below-the-radar, never-ending fruit fly control programs," Carey says in his abstract. "Permanent establishment of any one of these tropical species has the potential to shut down the multi-billion dollar domestic and foreign markets for hundreds of California fruit and vegetable crops."

"I will present an overview of the long-developing crisis, discuss lessons learned from analysis of fruit fly detection databases, and argue that, in order to have any chance at stemming this ever-rising tide, CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) and the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) urgently need to switch from their historic, ad-hoc eradication strategy to a new one that is evidence-based and far more scientific."

Carey served on the CDFA's Medfly Scientific Advisory Panel from 1987-1994, testified to the California Legislature "Committee of the Whole" in 1990 on the Medfly Crisis in California, and authored the paper "Establishment of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly in California" (1991, Science 258, 457).

Carey is a senior scholar in the Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging at UC Berkeley and former vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. He  focuses his research on  insect biodemography, mortality dynamics, and insect invasion biology.  He joined the Department of Entomology in 1980.

Fellow of Four Professional Societies. Carey is a fellow of four professional societies: the Entomological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Gerontological Society of America. He is former director (2003-13) of a 11-university consortium funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIH/P01) on the evolutionary ecology of lifespan.

He co-authored the book Biodemography: An Introduction to Concepts and Methods (Carey, J. R. and D. Roach. 2020; Princeton University Press) and authored three previous books,  Demography for Biologists (Oxford University Press 1993), Longevity (Princeton University Press, 2003), and Longevity Records: Life Spans of Mammals, Birds, Amphibians and Reptiles (Odense, 2000). He has written more than 250 journal articles and book chapters. For any technical issues with Zoom, contact seminar coordinator Brian Johnson, associate professor, at brnjohnson@ucdavis.edu