P.M. BRIEFING : Florida Calls Medfly War Over

From Times Wire Services

Florida agricultural officials today declared an end to a 3 1/2-month Medfly infestation--with a slap at Southern California for taking so long to get rid of its pests.

Helicopters sprayed up to 20 square miles of suburban Miami with malathion in eight aerial treatments to kill Mediterranean fruit flies, considered the most destructive farm pest because it can attack 250 different fruits and vegetables.

Unlike in Southern California, the spraying went on with little fuss.

California's year-old infestation has spread to more than 900 square miles with limited aerial pesticide spraying and has cost more than $38 million to fight so far, said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Doyle Conner.

"It is absolutely vital to move quickly and aggressively, which is exactly what we did," he said.

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