Irradiation used in averting fruit fly emergency in Mexico

The sterile insect technique (SIT) has been used as the main tool to eradicate the outbreak of the Mediterranean fruit fly, also called medfly (Ceratitis capitata), in the Mexican state of Colima.  The Medfly is considered among the most devastating insect pests worldwide due to the direct damage it inflicts on a wide range of fruit and vegetable crops.  The outbreak threatens the horticultural industry in Mexico and can result in significant economic damage.  SIT uses gamma irradiation to sterilize mass-reared medflies so that they cannot produce offspring, decreasing the population over time.  The SIT is among the most environment-friendly insect pest control methods available and the IAEA supports countries, including Mexico, in reducing and eliminating medfly populations.

Further details can be read at this news item posted on the IAEA website.

The IAEA video ‘The life of a sterile medfly’ illustrates SIT further.


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