Integrated Pest Management: Mediterranean Fruit Flies

November 15, 2019


Menashe_fruitfliyPhotographer: Menashe Davidson
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson

The Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly, Ceratitis capitata) has infested more than 200 hosts worldwide and has become a serious horticultural pest in Israel. The first sign of damage is often larvae-infested or stung fruit, caused by the female laying eggs into fruit, either unripe or ripe. Baiting and or luring are the methods recommended to control these pests. Since baits include insecticides that have a short residual life, they need to be re-applied at weekly intervals and require some commonsense precautions. Luring devices work in a similar way to baits, attracting medflies (both males and females) to the protein of the lure. Traps are typically hung on trees. Depending on the trap design, the flies either drown or obtain a lethal dose of insecticide.

As shown above, the lure consists of a plastic container. The bright yellow color attracts the medflies, which enter through small holes in the lid. Luring won’t kill all of the flies since the ripening fruit may prove more attractive to the female medfly than the trap contents. Installing traps has been demonstrated to be useful for detecting and decreasing medfly populations. Additionally, the use of traps reduces the need to apply pesticides over the entire crop. Note the healthy condition of the citrus in both photos, which were taken on July 25, 2019, from a plot of early Satsuma variety mandarins, in the Sharon region of Israel.