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
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 »
IAEA Helps Burkina Faso Scale Up Fight Against Tsetse Flies IAEA Helps Burkina Faso Scale Up Fight Against Tsetse Flies. Burkina Faso today inaugurated the largest insect rearing facility in West Africa to apply a nuclear technique to suppress the tsetse fly, an insect harmful to both humans and animals. The plant was built with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in a move to help control one of Africa’s most devastating cattle diseases, Nagana. Read More »
Teamwork Award from FAO-AG Department to IPPC-IAEA Joint Team on the Fruit Fly Standards Teamwork Award from FAO-AG Department to IPPC-IAEA Joint Team on the Fruit Fly Standards. On 26 January 2017 an award for exceptional teamwork was conferred on the cross-UN agency team consisting of staff from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, and staff from the Standard setting unit of the IPPC Secretariat. The award is an honour bestowed upon staff of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of FAO who carry out activities through exceptional teamwork that have a major impact on meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the FAO strategic objectives. Read More »
Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Fruit Flies of Economic Importance Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Fruit Flies of Economic Importance. The Symposium took place in May 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The document contains thirty-four papers on a broad range of topics concerning fruit flies, including area-wide programmes, control methods and supporting technology, chemical ecology and attractants, biology, ecology, physiology and behaviour, the Sterile Insect Technique, natural enemies and biological control, and risk analysis. Read More »
New Method Advances Research on Controlling Mosquitoes Using Nuclear Techniques New Method Advances Research on Controlling Mosquitoes Using Nuclear Techniques. A pioneering method unveiled last month to separate a million Aedes male and female mosquitoes a day could be a major step towards using the nuclear-based sterile insect technique (SIT) to control the insects that transmit diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya. The prototype is capable of differentiating male and female mosquitoes via artificial vision and then eliminating the females with the use of laser beams. Read More »
IAEA Hosts Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Experts on Fight against Screwworm Pest IAEA Hosts Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Experts on Fight against Screwworm Pest. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is hosting an expert meeting this week to discuss stepping up efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean to combat the New World Screwworm, a flesh-eating pest that remains a threat to livestock in that region. Prior to its eradication in North and Central America using an integrated pest control approach with sterile insects, it caused economic losses estimated at over $1.5 billion per year. Read More »
The FAO/IAEA and USDA joined hands to help eradicate the Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak from the Dominican Republic with assistance from regional organizations like IICA and OIRSA The FAO/IAEA and USDA joined hands to help eradicate the Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak from the Dominican Republic with assistance from regional organizations like IICA and OIRSA. Containment, suppression and eradication actions started since the first medfly detection in March 2015 using an area-wide integrated control based on the sterile insect technique (SIT). Substantial progress in the medfly eradication process has been made. Currently actions are being conducted over an area of 300 km2 where some localized and isolated medfly outbreaks still remain. Read More » Watch Photo Essay »
Research into fruit fly taxonomy adds knowledge of cryptic species on the family tree Research into fruit fly taxonomy adds knowledge of cryptic species on the family tree. Accurate fruit fly taxonomy is crucial to assess which species are present or absent in a given area. This, in turn, provides a scientific basis for countries to set up import regulations according to international phytosanitary standards and to develop appropriate and effective fruit fly surveillance and control methods including the sterile insect technique. A major study has now found several inaccuracies in current taxonomic classification. This has significant implications for international trade and for pest control strategies. Read More »
9th Fruit Fly Meeting of the Western Hemisphere 9th Fruit Fly Meeting of the Western Hemisphere. The meeting was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from October 16 to 21, 2016. It was attended by 313 participants from 26 countries, including researchers from the scientific and academic field, plant protection officers from public agencies, fruit grower representatives and companies providing inputs and services. One innovation at this meeting was the session on "Political and socio-economic analysis of action programs", consisting of a panel discussion with representatives of the national plant protection agencies and regional organizations (OIRSA, NAPPO, CPHD, COSAVE and IICA).
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Special Issue on Inherited Sterility Programs against Moth Pests Special Issue on Inherited Sterility Programs against Moth Pests. Lepidopteran species are amongst the most damaging pests of food and fiber crops world-wide. However, in view of increased occurrence of resistance against insecticides, and their negative impacts on the environment, more effective and environmentally friendly methods are needed. Both the sterile insect technique (SIT), and the related inherited sterility (IS) technique offer great potential as additional moth management tools. From 2008 to 2014 an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project focused on increasing the efficiency of Lepidoptera SIT/IS by enhanced sterile moth quality control. The research outputs of the CRP are have been published in 25 scientific articles compiled in a Special Issue of the Florida Entomologist. Read More »
Twenty years after eradication of tsetse from Zanzibar Twenty years after eradication of tsetse from Zanzibar. September 2016 marks the 20th year after the successful eradication of tsetse flies from Unguja island of Zanzibar was declared. Mark Vreysen, Head of the Seibersdorf Laboratories of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, describes the achievement and the resulting benefits to the inhabitants of Unguja Island. Read More »
Success stories on the use of the sterile insect technique (SIT) and other related nuclear techniques Success stories on the use of the sterile insect technique (SIT) and other related nuclear techniques. The stories present a brief summary of the successful application of SIT for prevention, containment and eradication as well as other applications of nuclear energy such as for enhancing biological control. It also presents a topic related to fruit fly taxonomy that highlights the importance of accurate identification for SIT application. Read More »

Previous Highlights