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Tephritid fruit flies

Tephritid fruit flies cause major losses in fruit and vegetables, and are often the target of intensive insecticide applications to protect commercial production. In addition, few pests have a greater impact on world trade in agricultural products than tephritid fruit flies. Their economic consequences are so great that countries free of the major tephritids (Chile, Japan, New Zealand and USA) prohibit the import of fresh produce from countries where these pests are endemic and have active detection and emergency response programmes in place to maintain their fruit fly free status.

Achieving a low pest prevalence or even pest-free status has therefore been the goal of many other area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programmes that include the SIT. Increasingly, SIT is also being applied as part of an integrated approach for area-wide suppression. This requires no quarantines, and reduces losses and insecticide use so as to be able to access low pesticide export markets.

The Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) ("medfly"), attacks over 250 species of fruits and vegetables. Females puncture fruit when they lay eggs and hatched larvae destroy the fruit. With advice and assistance from the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme, the SIT has been used successfully to sustainable suppress (Argentina, Israel, Spain, South Africa), contain (Australia, Guatemala, Peru), prevent establishment (California, Florida), or even eradicate (Argentina, California, Chile, Florida, Mexico) this pest from entire regions or countries, opening new export markets and bringing about substantial economic and environmental benefits.

Anastrepha fruit flies are the main fruit fly pests throughout the Western Hemisphere. The SIT has been applied to exclude the Mexican fruit fly (A. ludens) from California and Texas, to suppress the Caribbean fruit fly (A. suspensa) in Florida, and to eradicate Mexican fruit fly and the West Indian fruit fly (A. obliqua) from northern Mexico. The SIT is also being developed for use against South American fruit fly (A. fraterculus) in South America.

Bactrocera fruit flies are the main fruit fly pests throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The melon fruit fly (B. cucurbitae) is a major pest of cucurbit crops. Using the SIT in AW-IPM programmes, this pest was eradicated from all the islands of the Okinawa archipelago in Japan. The Queensland fruit fly, B. tryoni, was eradicated from Western Australia. In Thailand the Oriental fruit fly (B. dorsalis) and the guava fruit fly (B. correcta), and in Philippines (B. philippinensis) are being suppressed to reduce losses in mango. Growing interest of the use of SIT against olive fruit fly (B. oleae) is currently under way in the Mediterranean region. Additionally, the recent introductions and spread of several Bactrocera species in the African continent must serve as a warning about the invasiveness of these exotic species. However, the SIT (when available for the introduced species) can play an important role in the eradication of early detected introductions.

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