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Species Page

Mediterranean fruit fly

Ceratitis capitata
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). Find out more information on how to access the CPC.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Annona cherimola (cherimoya)
Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)
Cydonia oblonga (quince)
Ficus carica (common fig)
Malus domestica (apple)
Prunus (stone fruit)
Prunus salicina (Japanese plum)
Psidium guajava (guava)
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)

List of symptoms / signs

Fruit - internal feeding


Attacked fruit usually shows signs of oviposition punctures and there is laboratory evidence of fungal transmission (Cayol et al., 1994). Very sweet fruits may produce a sugary exudate.

Prevention and control

Regulatory Control 

Systems approach and post-harvest treatments are currently being used in import protocols of fruit commodities regarded as susceptible to C. capitata from countries where the pest is present. In systems approach, at least two independent risk mitigation measures which can include pre and/or post-harvest measures should be used. Pre-harvest control measures which would mitigate the risk of C. capitata are provided below. A combination of pre-harvest measures is recommended for effective control of C. capitata. Post-harvest treatments may involve fumigation, heat treatment (hot vapour or hot water) (USDA, 2016), cold treatments (USDA, 2016) or irradiation (Armstrong and Couey, 1989). 

Cultural Control and Sanitary Methods

One of the most effective control techniques against fruit flies in general is to wrap fruit, either in newspaper, a paper bag, or in the case of long/thin fruits, a polythene sleeve. This is a simple physical barrier to oviposition but it has to be applied before the stage at which the fruit is attacked. 

The removal and disposal of fallen fruits or fruit left over after harvest is recommended in fruit growing areas in order to remove potential breeding sites of the pest species. Fruit removed should be finely ground and scattered in the sun in an area away from fruit growing areas or burrowed deep in the soil (at least 0.5 m below the surface) in order to effectively kill immature stages.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:


Ceratitis capitata is an important pest in Africa and has spread to almost every other continent to become the single most important pest species in its family. It is highly polyphagous and causes damage to a very wide range of unrelated fruit crops. In Mediterranean countries, it is particularly damaging to citrus and peach (Prunus persica). It may also transmit fruit-rotting fungi (Cayol et al., 1994).

Damage to fruit crops is frequently high and may reach 100% (Fimiani, 1989; Fischer-Colbrie and Busch-Petersen, 1989). In Central America, losses to coffee (Coffea) crops were estimated at 5-15% and the berries matured earlier and fell to the ground with reduced quality (Enkerlin et al., 1989). As in areas where the fly is endemic, in outbreak conditions the economic impacts include reduced production, increased control costs and lost markets.