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Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Ceratitis capitata

Mediterranean Fruit Fly, Medfly

The Mediterranean fruit fly is one of the most common known pests in the agricultural industry. The life cycle is weather and resource-dependent. During warm conditions and in ripe fruit, the life cycle can be as short as three to four weeks. During the winter it can be two to three months. The main symptom is larvae boring through fruits which fall early and ultimately become inedible. Larvae only cause significant damage.


Adults are 3-5 mm in length. They are yellowish-orange in colour. The thorax is creamy white to yellow with a pattern of black blotches. Wings are patterned with black, brown and brownish-yellow markings. Mature larvae reach a length of 7-9 mm. Larvae are legless and the body tapers from the posterior to the anterior end. Black mouth hooks are visible in the second and third instars. Pupae are cylindrical with rounded ends, and 4-6 mm in length. Initially, they start being straw-coloured and then become dark reddish-brown. Pupation usually occurs in soils. Eggs are white, smooth and banana-shaped with a length of 1 mm. Eggs are laid under the skin of a fruit.


Only the larvae cause damage to host plants. Eggs are laid under skins of most ripe or ripening fruit. Sites, where eggs are laid, resemble discoloured pin-prick sites. The larvae feed on the fruit, tunnelling to the centre of the fruit. Infestations turn fruit to a pulpy mass.











80 countries worldwide

Biological treatment

Biological agents include entomopathogenic bacteria (e.g. Bacillus thuringiensis and Saccharopolyspora siniosa), fungi (e.g. Beauveria bassiana, Entomophthora spp. and Metarhizium anisopliae), nematodes (e.g. Diplogaster sp. and Steinernema spp.), ants and spiders. Sanitation - pick up fallen fruit so that fruit flies won't be attracted.

Chemical treatment

Fruit fly bait - a protein attractant mixed with a synthetic or natural insecticide.


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