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.

Announcements - Forthcoming Event
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.
22 – 26 May 2017, IAEA/Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria.
This third conference will address technical, managerial and socio-economic components of operational area-wide programmes. The general purpose of the conference is to present to a wide audience new developments, trends and challenges related to insect pest management, both in the fields of agriculture and public health.
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Highlights
Infrared Video Shows Tsetse Fly Development from Pupa to Adult Infrared Video Shows Tsetse Fly Development from Pupa to Adult. Researchers working at the Seibersdorf Laboratories of the Insect Pest Control Section have developed a fascinating technique for sexing tsetse flies during the pupal phase. Sexing of insects reared for sterile male release is of great importance to the success of SIT, especially when both sexes have the potential to transmit disease-causing parasites when they feed.
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IAEA Impact: How a Nuclear Technique Helped Save the Western Cape’s Orange Industry IAEA Impact: How a Nuclear Technique Helped Save the Western Cape’s Orange Industry. The sterile insect technique successfully applied to control false codling moth, substantially reducing damage and allowing effective control without the use of insecticides. Read More »
Edward Knipling and Raymond Bushland Win Award for the Sterile Insect Technique Edward Knipling and Raymond Bushland Win Award for the Sterile Insect Technique. The technique has been heralded as “the only truly original innovation in insect control in [the 20th] century”. The two demonstrated that they could inflict mass sterilization of insects through irradiation —one of the first peaceful uses of nuclear radiation.
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Standard operation procedure manual for sterile Tsetse release. This manual describes the standard procedures involved in preparing tsetse flies reared in a breeding facility for release in the field for the sterile insect technique (SIT) as a component of Area-Wide Insect Pest Management (AW-IPM). Following the procedures outlined will help to ensure that the released sterile male tsetse flies are of optimal quality. Read More »
South Africa diversifies the use of the sterile insect technique (SIT) for pest control South Africa diversifies the use of the sterile insect technique (SIT) for pest control. South African Experts Advance in Researching Nuclear Technique to Fight Sugarcane Pests and Malaria. After the successful area-wide application of the SIT against the false codling moth in citrus areas, the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) is now is developing with support from the IAEA and the FAO the technology for control of the Eldana moth, an economic pest of sugarcane in the country. Moreover, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has also made progress in developing the SIT against Anopheles arabiensis mosquito, which is a vector of malaria. Read More »
Interview with Jorge Hendrichs, head of the Insect Pest Control section Interview with Jorge Hendrichs, head of the Insect Pest Control section.
It is feasible to eradicate the Mediterranean fruit fly from the Dominican Republic
(in Spanish only). Read More »
One Step Closer to Enhancing Food Security and Facilitating Trade. To limit the international spread of pests and diseases that harm plants –from fruits, vegetables, grains to trees– it is essential to know which plants a pest will use to reproduce. These plants are called hosts, as they host or harbour pests that are transported when the plants are moved and traded, with the risk of the pests spreading. Ten years ago the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) community agreed that a standard was needed on how to determine whether a specific fruit may host damaging fruit flies. Ten years of dialogue, drafts and consultations were needed before the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) on Determination of host status of fruit to fruit flies (Tephritidae) was adopted. Read More »
World Malaria Day: A Closer Look at a Nuclear Technique in the Fight Against this Infectious Disease A Closer Look at a Nuclear Technique in the Fight Against this Infectious Disease.
World Malaria Day: The IAEA supports research and development to help find new solutions and strategies to continue the fight against malaria. The sterile insect technique, as part of an integrated vector management approach, is one of these promising innovations. Read More »
IAEA Board of Governors Approves 2.3 Million Euro Project to Help Combat Zika IAEA Board of Governors Approves 2.3 Million Euro Project to Help Combat Zika. A new 2.3 million euro initiative will help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean fight the Zika virus with a nuclear technique that has been used to suppress various insect pests. The initiative complements immediate IAEA support provided to countries in the region in the wake of the Zika outbreak to help rapid detection of the virus. The IAEA will transfer the sterile insect technique (SIT), a form of pest control that uses ionizing radiation to sterilize male insects mass-produced in special rearing facilities. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), spearheads global research in the development and application of SIT. Read More »
IAEA Helps Brazil Step up the Fight Against ‘Zika’ Mosquitoes IAEA Helps Brazil Step up the Fight Against ‘Zika’ Mosquitoes. The IAEA in cooperation with the Brazilian Ministry of Health, organized a meeting as part of the response to the current Zika outbreak in Central and South America. The meeting was aimed at discussing current status of the methods available to fight the disease-transmitting mosquitoes and draw recommendations on the potential use of mosquito SIT. The World Health Organization declared Zika an international public health emergency earlier this month. Read More »
Drones for Good 2016: FAO/IAEA’s ROMEO system for aerial release of sterile male mosquitoes finishes 4th place among over 1000 entries Drones for Good 2016: FAO/IAEA’s ROMEO system for aerial release of sterile male mosquitoes finishes 4th place among over 1000 entries. Team ROMEO (Remotely Operated Mosquito Emission Operation) is a collaborative project between the mosquito group of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, and the German drone manufacturer Height Tech. Together they designed an unmanned aerial release vehicle (UAV) capable of transporting and releasing sterile male mosquitoes by air. Release by UAV would be cheaper and quicker than current ground release techniques and allow a better distribution and releases in sites inaccessible by road. Read More »
Manual to Differentiate Wild Mediterranean Fruit Flies Ceratitis capitata (Wied.) from non-irradiated (Fertile) and Irradiated (Sterile) VIENNA Temperature Sensitive Lethal Strain Flies. This manual is a product of recent studies on the effect of gamma radiation on testes and ovaries of the VIENNA Mediterranean fruit fly temperature sensitive lethal (TSL) genetic sexing strains, which are being used in most Mediterranean fruit fly mass-rearing facilities in the world. It includes standardised and updated procedures to determine the fertility or sterility of adults of these strains. Consequently, this is a very useful document to support SIT based area-wide integrated pest management programmes that release VIENNA Mediterranean fruit fly TSL strains. Read More »
Guideline for packing, shipping, holding and release of sterile flies in area-wide fruit fly control programmes. This 2nd edition of the guideline is an updated version of the original FAO/IAEA guideline published by FAO in 2007. The majority of the procedures described in this guideline were initially designed specifically for the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wied.). Nevertheless, these can be applied with some modifications to other tephritid pest species of the genera Anastrepha, Bactrocera and Dacus. The guideline is designed to be a working document, subject to periodic reviews and updates based on new developments in SIT technology. Future editions will endeavour to include more specific recommendations for other species of fruit flies as the relevant data become available. Read More »
An FAO/IAEA research coordination meeting is held in Vienna on mosquito handling, transport, release and monitoring, in support of developing the sterile insect technique against 
					disease-transmitting vectors An FAO/IAEA research coordination meeting is held in Vienna on mosquito handling, transport, release and monitoring, in support of developing the sterile insect technique against disease-transmitting vectors. During the week of the 23-27 November 36 participants from 19 countries were hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as part of a new 5-year coordinated research project aiming to develop innovative equipment and techniques for the release of sterile male mosquitoes and population surveillance to monitor the impact on mosquito populations. These activities and resulting collaborations will build on the work of the Insect Pest Control Laboratory (IPCL). Read More »
Training Future Managers Today for Controlling the Insect Pests of Tomorrow Training Future Managers Today for Controlling the Insect Pests of Tomorrow. From combating malaria-carrying mosquitos to protecting fruit from flies, long-term sustainability of insect pest control using nuclear techniques requires a solid technical foundation and strong management skills locally, agreed participants of a recent training course organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »
Special Issue on an FAO/IAEA completed CRP on cryptic species. Among the currently recognized major fruit fly pests, there are groups of species whose morphology is very similar or identical, but biologically they are distinct species. This uncertain taxonomic status has practical implications on the effective development and use of the SIT against such complexes. Furthermore, it significantly affects international movement of fruit and vegetables through the establishment of trade barriers to important agricultural commodities which are hosts to these pest tephritid species. Read More » Press Release »

Previous Highlights