Automation in Tsetse Fly Mass-rearing for Use in Sterile Insect Technique Programmes


To improve and up-grade tsetse mass-rearing by the development and utilization of automation and other methods.


The present tsetse fly rearing process involves several manual handling procedures that are very labour intensive and quality sensitive. Such process components are not amenable to upscaling tsetse production to an industrial scale. Sex separation and feeding are priority areas which have been identified for automation.

Activitives were centered on the development and evaluation of (i) a tsetse production unit (TPU), (ii) self stocking of production cages with colony flies and (iii) automated sex determination and cage design. The TPU holds cages of flies, automatically feeds flies and collects pupae and larvae centrally. Self stocking of production cages with the right number and sex of flies will remove the need for the chill-immobilization of colony flies for the laborious, time consuming and quality sensitive process of sex recognition and separation at the time of emergence and after mating. Investigations are underway to design cages that are more suitable for use on the TPU.

Special attention was also laid on the development of an automated system for sex recognition of adult tsetse flies. This system is based on automated image processing. Based on differences between male and female tsetse e.g. hair pattern on the fly abdomen, algorithms are being assessed that may be used for automated sex recognition and separation at a speed of one fly per second. This work was initially carried out with Glossina austeni but it was also addressed G. pallidipes because of an envisaged SIT programme in Ethiopia.


Five Contract Holders from Burkina-Faso, Czech Republic, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania; and two Technical Contracts from Austria.


  • The final Evaluation Report summarizes achievements under this five-year CRP (1994-2003).
  • Proceedings of a final Research-Coo-Ordination Meeting. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 7 - 13 July 2001. [Download pdf]