Thursday, November 3, 2016

Florida officials release swarms of sterile flies to fight off flesh-eating maggots

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 4:20 PM

  • Photo via Kathleen Franklin/Flickr
To combat a parasitic maggot that eats the living flesh of anything warm-blooded–including humans, officials in Florida this week released swarms of flies that can only shoot blanks.

According to Florida Key News, over 13.5 million of these sterile flies have been released in Monroe County in the hopes that when they eventually find a female to mate with, no offspring will be produced, which over time causes the population to crash.

To create these sterile little guys, large numbers were bred in captivity and then blasted with radiation, reports the BBC. No genetic modification was required. This exact method was used to help eradicate screwworms from places like the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico back in the '60s.

The New Screwworm outbreak, which is currently limited to just Big Pine Key and No Name Key, has already claimed over 120 deer in the Florida Keys.

Fearing the screwworm could eventually spread to livestock and cause millions of dollars in damage, the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture has declared an agricultural state of emergency in Monroe County.

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