U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Agricultural Research Magazine 60(5): May-June 2012 pp. 10-19; ISSN 0002-161X


The only thing that stands between the United States and an invasion of cattle-killing screwworms is a daily flight of airplanes flooding a 100-mile-wide section of the Isthmus of Panama with male screwworm flies raised in a laboratory and sterilized with radiation in Panama. The screwworm infestations of the past would probably come back if the releases stopped for a couple of months or so, says Dan Strickman, Agricultural Research Service national program leader for veterinary and medical entomology.

“This is a great example of agricultural research changing the history of this country, and it’s a cutting-edge example of integrated pest management,” Strickman adds.

This year marks the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 150th anniversary, making it a particularly appropriate time to look at this and other examples of history in the making.