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Species Page

Mediterranean fruit fly

Ceratitis capitata

Distribution

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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Annona cherimola (cherimoya)
Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)
Citrus
Coffea (coffee)
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

Symptoms

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

Many countries, such as the mainland USA, forbid the import of susceptible fruit without strict postharvest treatment having been applied by the exporter. This may involve fumigation, heat treatment (hot vapour or hot water), cold treatments, insecticidal dipping, or irradiation (Armstrong and Couey, 1989). For example, EPPO recommends (OEPP/EPPO, 1990) that fruits of Citrus or Prunus should have been treated by an appropriate method, for example, in transit by cold treatment (e.g. 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 days at 0.0, 0.6, 1.1, 1.7 or 2.2°C, respectively) or, for certain types of fruits, by vapour heat (e.g. 44°C for 8 h) (USDA, 1994), forced hot-air (Armstrong et al., 1995) or hot-water treatment (Sharp and Picho-Martinez, 1989). Irradiation is not accepted in most countries and many have now banned methyl bromide fumigation. Heat treatment tends to reduce the shelf life of most fruits and so the most effective method of regulatory control is to preferentially restrict imports of a given fruit to areas free of fruit fly attack.

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. When detected, it is important to gather all fallen and infected host fruits, and destroy them.

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:


This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC);www.cabi.org/cpc. For information on how to access the CPC, click here.

Impact

C. 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. 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 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.