Sterile Insect Technique, Insect Pest Control

Insect Pest Control

We assist FAO and IAEA Member States in the implementation of environmentally-friendly and sustainable methods to control major insect pests of crops and veterinary and human importance through strategic and applied research, technology transfer, capacity building, policy advice, information management, and technology transfer to field projects in Member States.

Our efforts focus on an area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) approach, with a sterile insect technique (SIT) component where feasible and required, to enhance food security, introduce sustainable agricultural systems, reduce losses and pesticide use, preserve biological diversity, and facilitate international trade in food and agricultural commodities by promoting the development and application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards. SIT does not involve transgenic (genetic engineering) processes.

Highlights
Another great achievement: The reorganized suite of fruit fly standards are now available in English on the IPP!  Another great achievement: The reorganized suite of fruit fly standards are now available in English on the IPP! ISPMs 26, 30, 35 and 37 have successfully been reorganized to reflect the decisions of CPM-13 (2018). This reorganization made the suite of fruit fly standards more logical and simple, which will help in their implementation and facilitate safe trade. Decision CPM-13 Read More » and Explanation of fruit fly ISPMs reorganization   Read More »
Productive Cattle Breeds Thrive in Senegal’s Niayes Region as a Result of Tsetse Suppression  Productive Cattle Breeds Thrive in Senegal’s Niayes Region as a Result of Tsetse Suppression. In Senegal, as in many other parts of West Africa, African animal trypanosomosis (AAT), a deadly disease carried by the tsetse fly, has long been a major obstacle to the development of more efficient and sustainable livestock production systems.   Read More »
Irradiated Fruit Flies: Protecting Thailand's Fruit Exports  Irradiated Fruit Flies: Protecting Thailand's Fruit Exports. Fruit flies used to destroy export crops in Chanthaburi province, Thailand before nuclear scientists found a way to control their numbers without using pesticides. The Sterile Insect Technique is already having a large effect on the local economy.   Read More »
IIrradiated Fruit Flies: the Secret to Protecting Thailand's Premium Fruit Exports  Irradiated Fruit Flies: the Secret to Protecting Thailand's Premium Fruit Exports. Trok Nong, Thailand – Five million irradiated fruit flies burst out of white boxes every Saturday and race to stop female flies from breeding larvae-filled eggs in Trok Nong, a small rural town in eastern Thailand.   Read More »
Machine learning can control tsetse flies. Machine learning can control tsetse flies. In 2014, Ms. Zelda Moran, of Columbia University, a researcher at the entomological laboratory of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, noticed that female and male tsetse pupae develop differently. Although tsetse-fly pupal cases are opaque, Ms. Moran found that in certain lighting conditions, such as infrared, it was possible to observe that the insects’ wings began to darken beforehand. In the case of females, this happens around 25-26 days after pupation. In the case of males it happens later: 27-29 days after pupation. In principle, that gives a way to sort the flies before they emerge from their pupae. This should simplify and increase efficiency of the production of tsetse sterile males for SIT projects such as the one in Senegal. It might work on other species, too. Read More »
Hungry, Hungry Larvae: How Entomologists Design the Diet for Mass-Reared Screwworm Flies. Hungry, Hungry Larvae: How Entomologists Design the Diet for Mass-Reared Screwworm Flies. At COPEG, the Panama – United States Commission for the Eradication and Prevention of New World Screwworm (NWS), approximately 20 million sterilized screwworm flies (Cochliomyia hominivorax, Coquerel) are reared every week and release in the field as part of the biological barrier at the Daren Gap aimed at protecting NWS free areas north of the barrier. All those flies need to eat, entomologists’ work to refine their latest formulation for the mass-reared screwworm larvae diet. Read More »
Tiny pest, big problem: South Africa's citrus challenge Tiny pest, big problem: South Africa's citrus challenge. The false coddling moth has been plaguing South Africa's citrus crops, putting this lucrative industry in danger. Now farmers are working with top scientists to sterilize these pests and keep this industry growing. View Video »(Source: CNN)
African Insect Experts Meet in Ghana to Discuss Fruit Fly Suppression African Insect Experts Meet in Ghana to Discuss Fruit Fly Suppression. A mid-term coordination meeting for a regional IAEA technical cooperation project[1] on the detection, surveillance and suppression of exotic and established fruit fly species was held in Accra, Ghana, from 23-27 July 2018. Read More »
NEW CRP: Simultaneous Application of SIT and MAT to Enhance Pest Bactrocera Management D41027 NEW CRP: Simultaneous Application of SIT and MAT to Enhance Pest Bactrocera Management D41027. The Joint FAO/IAEA Division is launching a new five-year Coordinated Research Project (CRP) to assess the simultaneous application of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and the Male Annihilation Technique (MAT) to enhance Bactrocera fruit fly management. Read More »
Tackling an Environmental Emergency in the Galapagos: Identifying Strategies to Combat the Invasive Parasitic Fly Philornis downsi Tackling an Environmental Emergency in the Galapagos: Identifying Strategies to Combat the Invasive Parasitic Fly Philornis downsi. Stakeholders and international experts met at IAEA headquarters in Vienna from 11 to 13 June 2018 to discuss an environmental emergency in the Galapagos Islands: a parasitic fly infestation that is causing high mortality amongst some bird species. Read More »
International Research Project Explores Novel Strategies to Improving the Sterile Insect Technique to Eradicate Tsetse Flies Through Enhancing Males Refractoriness to Trypanosome Infection International Research Project Explores Novel Strategies to Improving the Sterile Insect Technique to Eradicate Tsetse Flies Through Enhancing Males Refractoriness to Trypanosome Infection. Tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) are the only cyclical vectors of two debilitating diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, sleeping sickness in humans (human African trypanosomosis, HAT) and nagana in livestock (African animal trypanosomosis, AAT). Read More »
Latin American Countries Combat Screwworm Pest through IAEA Project Latin American Countries Combat Screwworm Pest through IAEA Project . Latin American countries have started work with the IAEA and its partners to prevent the re-introduction of the New World screwworm into Central and North America from where it has been eradicated and build capacity for the suppression and eventual eradication of this insect pest in some regions of South America and the Caribbean. Read More »
Transboundary shipment of sterile insects Transboundary shipment of sterile insects. Transboundary shipment of sterile insects has taken place on a continuous basis for 55 years. The total number of sterile insects shipped has been estimated at over 1 trillion in thousands of shipments across borders to 23 recipient countries from 50 sterile insect factories in 25 countries. During this long period and many precedents, no problems associated with possible hazards have been identified, and thus the shipment of sterile insects have never been subjected to any regulatory action. Transboundary shipments started in 1963 with the shipments of sterile Mexican fruit fly (Anastrepha ludens, Loew), from Monterrey, Mexico, to Texas, USA. Read More »
For more information on packing, shipping, holding and release of sterile insects see: Guideline-for-Packing.pdf.
Dashboard for Managers of Sterile Insect Technique Production Facilities Dashboard for Managers of Sterile Insect Technique Production Facilities. The Dashboard is composed of an Excel spreadsheet and a graphic display. It has been designed primarily for managers and staff as a working tool to monitor insect mass-rearing operations at production facilities. This mass-rearing metrics allows managers to follow their daily production performance in a Dashboard format. Monitoring operation activities helps to quickly identify production problems, take corrective actions, and measure their impact on improving processes and planning. Read More »
Update of the technical leaflet released in six languages on the discrimination between two invasive Bactrocera fruit fly pests Update of the technical leaflet released in six languages on the discrimination between two invasive Bactrocera fruit fly pests. Bactrocera zonata (peach fruit fly) sometimes overlaps in terms of distribution with Bactrocera dorsalis (Oriental fruit fly). A technical leaflet to help to discriminate among these two invasive pest species, was updated and produced in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. The leaflet will be useful for countries and regions where these species are present or at risk of incursion helping to implement the recommended emergency response and is now available to regulatory agencies, surveillance and identification staff, growers of horticultural products and other stakeholders. It was prepared by Marc De Meyer (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium) and Ian White (formerly research associate Natural History Museum, UK).
IAEA Conducts Successful Test of Drones in Fight Against Disease-Transmitting Mosquitos IAEA Conducts Successful Test of Drones in Fight Against Disease-Transmitting Mosquitos. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its partners have successfully tested releasing sterile mosquitos from drones as part of efforts to use a nuclear technique to supress the insect that spreads Zika and other diseases. Read More »
Moscamed Brasil Receives IAEA Collaborating Centre Designation Moscamed Brasil Receives IAEA Collaborating Centre Designation. Moscamed Brasil has been designated as a Collaborating Centre of the IAEA for the period 2018-2022 in relation to its programmes to combat the disease-carrying Aedes mosquito. Read More »
IAEA Helps Member States in Europe Develop Insect Pest Control Protocols IAEA Helps Member States in Europe Develop Insect Pest Control Protocols. As part of a three-year (2016-2019) regional technical cooperation project, the IAEA, in close cooperation with FAO, is working with its European Member States to promote the transfer and application of the environmentally-friendly sterile insect technique (SIT) against invasive mosquito species. Read More »
Status Report Released on the New World Screw Worm in Latin America Executive Report: Current Situation of the New World Screwworm, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel), on the Countries Participating in the Regional Project RLA5067 of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Report of the review and planning meeting under the framework of the Technical Cooperation Project RLA5067 and the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Applications in Agriculture Vienna, Austria 12-16 December 2016 (Report available only in Spanish). Read More »
IAEA Director General Visits Thailand: Highlights Potential of Sterile Insect Technique to Fight Disease-vector Mosquitoes IAEA Director General Visits Thailand: Highlights Potential of Sterile Insect Technique to Fight Disease-vector Mosquitoes. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visited Bangkok, Thailand this week, where in his meetings with senior officials he discussed a range of development areas where nuclear applications play a vital role. Read More »
IAEA Director General Visits Philippines: Discusses Support for Nuclear Techniques in Food Security, Health and Nuclear Power IAEA Director General Visits Philippines: Discusses Support for Nuclear Techniques in Food Security, Health and Nuclear Power. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano met with senior officials during his visit to the Philippines last week, and in discussions with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, he was briefed about the country’s consideration of a possible future nuclear power infrastructure. Read More »
Argentina Uses Nuclear Technology to Control Insect Pests Argentina Uses Nuclear Technology to Control Insect Pests. After its success in controlling a devastating fruit fly with nuclear technology, Argentina is gearing up to fight a new enemy: mosquitoes that transmit Zika, in addition to dengue and chikungunya. Read More »
IAEA Superior Achievement Award 2017 - Mediterranean Fruit Fly Eradication in the Dominican Republic IAEA Superior Achievement Award 2017 - Mediterranean Fruit Fly Eradication in the Dominican Republic. The team from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, and the Latin America and the Caribbean Division, Department of Technical Cooperation, was presented with the prestigious IAEA Superior Achievement Award for its exceptional commitment, dedication, professional rigour and initiative. Read More »
Costa Rica Aims to Tackle Harmful Flies with the Help of Wasps and Nuclear Technology Costa Rica Aims to Tackle Harmful Flies with the Help of Wasps and Nuclear Technology. A group of Costa Rican experts has demonstrated that using a tiny wasp and nuclear technology can control the stable fly, a pest that is causing losses to pineapple producers and cattle breeders in Costa Rica and beyond. The pilot project was supported by the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »
Nuclear Technique Helps Prevent Insects From Harming Your Coffee Beans Nuclear Technique Helps Prevent Insects From Harming Your Coffee Beans. Recent studies have shown that the Mediterranean fruit fly inflicts economic damage to coffee production by reducing weight of the coffee bean and affecting quality. The sterile insect technique integrated with other control methods is being used to control the pest protecting coffee production and industry. Watch Video En / Sp »
Nuclear Technique Helps Dominican Republic Eradicate Insect Pest That Hurt Agricultural Sector Nuclear Technique Helps Dominican Republic Eradicate Insect Pest That Hurt Agricultural Sector. The Dominican Republic today officially declared in a ceremony in the capital Santo Domingo that it has eradicated a major agricultural pest, the Mediterranean fruit fly, and that it is now free of the insect, two years after an outbreak led to considerable damage to its agricultural industry. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other stakeholders, provided assistance to the Dominican Republic to suppress the agricultural pest using the Sterile Insect Technique. Read More »
Prevention Rather Than Crisis Reaction Protects US Horticulture Industry from Medflies Prevention Rather Than Crisis Reaction Protects US Horticulture Industry from Medflies. One piece of fruit in a traveller’s backpack portends disaster if the fruit also contains hitchhiking larvae of the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) – larvae that could escape inspection at port of entry and initiate an infestation. In the mid-1990s, California and Florida, the main USA horticulture-producing states, initiated area-wide preventive and continuous releases of sterile male medflies over high-risk areas – a pest control endeavour that has substantially reduced overall cost and prevented establishment of the pest. Read More »
Third FAO/IAEA International Conference on Area-wide Management of Insect Pests: Integrating the Sterile Insect and Related Nuclear and Other Techniques Third FAO/IAEA International Conference on Area-wide Management of Insect Pests: Integrating the Sterile Insect and Related Nuclear and Other Techniques. The Conference was held from 22 - 26 May 2017 at the Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria. The successful conference was attended by 360 delegates from 81 countries, six international organization, and nine exhibitors. See all presentations »
Stinging Wasps Replace Chemical Pesticides becoming Control Agents in Fighting Stable Flies Stinging Wasps Replace Chemical Pesticides becoming Control Agents in Fighting Stable Flies. Costa Rica’s position as the world’s largest producer of pineapple brings with it a parallel problem for the country’s livestock and dairy industry: the aggressive and blood-sucking stable fly, a fly that can wreak havoc on cattle and affect their productivity. In efforts to control the fly without resorting to chemical spraying, Costa Rica resorts to using a wasp, a natural enemy of the stable fly, as a biocontrol agent. Read More »
Fewer Flies, More Fruit in Jordan Valley Orchards Fewer Flies, More Fruit in Jordan Valley Orchards. In the Jordan Valley over 1.5 million sterilized flies are released twice a week in a selected area of 400 hectares of citrus and stone fruits, leading to medfly population suppression and effective protection of fruit production with no harm to the environment. Read More »
Area-wide Management of Insect Pests: Integrating the Sterile Insect and Related Nuclear and Other Techniques The Third FAO/IAEA International Conference on Area-wide Management of Insect Pests: Integrating the Sterile Insect and Related Nuclear and Other Techniques is taking place this week in Vienna, Austria, to discuss new developments, trends and challenges related to insect pest management. The conference is part of the efforts of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture to assist Member States address the rapidly evolving field of insect pest management. See video on area-wide insect pest management. View Video »
At the Mexico-Guatemala border, the sterile insect technique halts the northward march of medflies since 1982 At the Mexico-Guatemala border, the sterile insect technique halts the northward march of medflies since 1982. Imagine an area of nearly 200 000 km2 that needs to be monitored on a daily basis – monitored for the presence of a destructive insect smaller than a fingernail. More than four decades ago the governments of Mexico, Guatemala and the United States, and later also Belize, agreed to work together to eradicate and contain the spread of the Mediterranean fruit fly through an effective area-wide integrated pest management technology involving the sterile insect technique. Read More »
International Database on Commodity Tolerance (IDCT) International Database on Commodity Tolerance (IDCT). A source of information that gathers and interprets the literature about commodity quality after phytosanitary irradiation treatment. It should aid stakeholders in Member States to identify the doses of radiation that are tolerated by different commodities including fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers in planning for commercial use of the technology. The information may also help users of the technology determine optimum methods of applying irradiation and scientists to identify gaps and inconsistencies in current knowledge. Read More »

Previous Highlights