Insect Pest Control - Previous Highlights

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. 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 Centre 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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).
Read More in Spanish and English »

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. 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 Centre, 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. 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 »

Breakthrough IAEA Infrared Imaging Research Reveals Insect Development in Chrysalis. No one in the history of studying insects had ever observed fly pupae without first physically breaking their shells. That was until last month, when researchers at the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) used near infrared imaging to allow continuous observation of the entire development process of living pupae without disruption. Read More »

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. Read More »

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. 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. Read More »

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 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.
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 »

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. 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. 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. Team ROMEO (Remotely Operated Mosquito Emission Operation) is a collaborative project between the mosquito group of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre 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. 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. 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 »

IAEA provides emergency assistance for Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak in the Caribbean. In late 2014, an outbreak of Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) was detected in Punta Cana, a major tourist area in eastern Dominican Republic. Until that time, Hispaniola and all other islands of the Caribbean were free of the medfly, one of the worst horticultural pests, which attacks over 250 types of fruits and vegetables. A major eradication effort is being undertaken by the Agricultural Authorities of the country with the support of IAEA and FAO and other stakeholders including the Moscamed Program Guatemala/Mexico, USDA, OIRSA, IICA and the horticultural industry. Read More »

Standard Operational Procedures to Detect and Manage Glossina pallidipes Salivary Gland Hypertrophy Virus (GpSGHV) in Tsetse Fly 'Factories'. Now an effective virus management package used to detect and manage the salivary gland hypertrophy virus in tsetse factories is available. This procedure includes the detection and monitoring the virus infection and using of antiviral drug combined with clean feeding system. Read More »

International Cooperation on Fruit Flies continues. The Technical Panel on Pest Free Areas and Systems Approaches for Fruit Flies (TPFF) made proposals for the reorganization of the fruit fly International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) to avoid duplication and further harmonize the guidance provided. The major change proposed was to include ISPM 30 as an annex of ISPM 35 because of the connection and subordinate nature of ISPM 30 to ISPM 35.The convened in Vienna from 19 to 23 October 2015. The TPFF is composed of 10 international fruit fly experts and includes a representative of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, which also hosted the meeting.
Read More »

Eight year study on tsetse fly populations in West Africa aimed at optimising eradication programmes. The FAO and IAEA have been supporting an 8 year study on the tsetse fly Glossina palpalis gambiensis in West Africa that aimed at developing methodologies to optimise eradication programmes. Read More »

Blood Processing User’s Manual and Database for Tsetse Flies. Now an effective blood processing procedure used to feed tsetse flies is available. The procedure describes the collection of animal blood, radiation with gamma rays, preservation and storage in deep freeze and quality control assurance. Read More »

Zanzibar remains free of tsetse, 18 years after eradication was declared. A recent entomological and parasitological survey (2015), carried out jointly by independent experts and the Department of Veterinary Services of Zanzibar, has confirmed the continued tsetse-free status of the island, 18 years after eradication was declared. Full Story »

IAEA recognized for its contribution to Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication in Africa. The IAEA has been presented with a certificate recognizing technical support that is provided by the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture to member countries of the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC). Full Story »

The Tsetse Fly Eradication Project in Senegal Wins Award for Best Sustainable Development Practices. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture has been supporting the tsetse eradication project in the Niayes of Senegal for more than 10 years. The successful project has now been given a “Best Sustainable Development Practices” Award at the Milano Expo 2015 and selected for a photo story. Full Story »

Tackling the challenge of dosimetry in controlling insect pests. A recent regional dosimetry meeting held in in one of the FAO/IAEA’s laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, strengthens capacity in insect sterilization by improving knowledge and application of dosimetry to monitor irradiation.
Full Story »

Nuclear Techniques for Healthier Fruits: Regional Meeting seeks Collaboration in Control of Exotic and Established Fruit Fly Species in Africa. Tephritid fruit flies pose a serious threat to farming activities and require an integrated approach in order to reduce damage caused to the fruits. As part of an initiative to address this phytosanitary and socio-economic problem, the IAEA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security of Mauritius, held a regional training course and regional coordination meeting in Bagatelle, Mauritius. Full Story »

Controlling fruit fly pest by releasing sterile male insects. Fruit flies attack many important fruit crops, including citrus, mango, apples, peaches, apricots as well as some vegetables (especially cucurbits), seed crops and many wild plants. Economic implications of such attacks are not only reduced production and increased control costs, but also loss of export markets and/or the cost of establishing and maintaining phytosanitary measures. An efficient and cost-effective pest control technology is the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), a biologically-based pest control method that, unlike pesticides, is environment-friendly and does not pose health concerns. Full Story [pdf] »

How a Nuclear Technique is Saving Citrus Fruits in Morocco, One Fly at a Time. Citrus crop losses due to fruit flies along with insecticide use in Morocco are both expected to drop as the country begins to develop capacities in using the Sterile Insect Technique.
The Joint Centre FAO/IAEA will provide technical support to the public and private sector of Morocco to eventually produce around 200 million sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies per week and release them over 100 000 hectares of agricultural production areas. Full Story »

World Malaria Day: How a Nuclear Technique Could Provide a Future Method for Mosquito Control. According to the World Health Organization, approximately half of the world's population is at risk of malaria and around half a million people die of the disease each year. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in Africa, where one child dies from malaria every minute. Dengue leads to an estimated 12 500 deaths annually, mainly among children, and the incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. Full Story » Multimedia »

IAEA and FAO providing support to Moroccan horticultural industry to manage Mediterranean Fruit Fly through the Sterile Insect Technique. The Mediterranean fruit fly is among the most devastating of pests for agricultural crops. Insecticide applications are routinely used to control them but this is not sustainable in view of the development of insecticide resistance and negative impacts on humans and the environment, as well as on international trade. Full Story »

Senegal Nears First Victory in Eradicating Tsetse Flies in Niayes region with the technical assistance of the Insect Pest Control Section from the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme in Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. Full Story »

Best Sustainable Development Practices on Food Security - Expo Milano 2015.
The FAO/IAEA project "Eradication of the tsetse fly Glossina palpalis gambiensis from the Niayes in Senegal" was among 18 selected for "Best Sustainable Development Practices on Food Security" by an International Selection Committee from among 749 proposals admitted to the final evaluation process for Expo Milano 2015. Full Story »

Okanagan - Kootenay Sterile Insect Release program up for international award. The FAO/IAEA Insect Pest Control Sub-programme (IPCS) has been collaborating with the Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release (OKSIR) programme for many years. Conversely, the OKSIR programme has hosted fellows and scientific visits, as part of an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Projects on the codling moth. In view of its successful implementation for more than 20 years and the significant impact the OKSIR programme has had on the reduction of insecticide use in the Okanagan Valley, the IPCS fully endorses the nomination of the OKSIR programme for this prestigious International IPM Achievement Award. Full Story »

The Insect Pest Control Laboratory of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is part of an EU-funded Innovative Training Network. Food security for human societies is a major challenge because it is continuously threatened by pest species. Producers use pesticides to control them, but regulations for the use of pesticides are getting stricter to ensure food safety and protect the environment. One option to replace the use of pesticides is by using biocontrol approaches including sterile insect technique (SIT). BINGO (Breeding Invertebrates for Next Generation BioControl), which is an EU-funded Innovative Training Network, aims to advance current knowledge in biocontrol practice. The Insect Pest Control Laboratory of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is part of this network by supporting research with a focus on testing whether symbiotic bacteria play an important role in the nutrition and fitness of the olive fruit fly and its parasitoid Psyttalia lounsburyi towards developing an area-wide Integrated Pest Management of the olive fruit fly. Full Story in Spanish»

Special Issue in BMC Genetics of an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project on Development and Evaluation of Improved Strains of Insect Pests for Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) Applications. This supplement contains the working papers which were produced in the frame of the FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project (CRP) entitled "Development and evaluation of improved strains of insect pests for sterile insect technique (SIT) applications". The CRP was initiated in 2009 and was completed in 2014. Full Story »

Special Issue in International Journal of Tropical Insect Science of an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project on Development of Mass-Rearing for African, Asian and New World Fruit Fly Pests in Support of the Sterile Insect Technique. The papers presented in this special issue of the International Journal of Tropical Insect Science are focused on developing and validating procedures for artificial rearing of selected fruit fly species of economic importance for use in area-wide integrated pest programmes with an SIT component. Full Story »

Special Issue in Acta Tropica of an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project on Applying GIS and Population Genetics for Managing Livestock Insect Pests: Case Studies on Tsetse and Screwworm Flies. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have supported from 2008 to 2013 a Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on ‘Applying GIS and population genetics for managing livestock insect pests’. Full Story »

Okanagan Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Programme (OKSIR) in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Staff of the FAO/IAEA’s Insect Pest Control sub programme participated, as part of a team of 6 international experts, in an external review of the Okanagan Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Programme (OKSIR) in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The OKSIR programme is the longest running (initiated in 1989) successful area-wide integrated pest management programme against the codling moth, a devastating pest of pome fruits in most temperate regions of the world. The programme integrates the release of sterile male moths with orchard sanitation and mating disruption. The group of experts reviewed in detail all technical and administrative aspects of the programme and was in general very much impressed by the obtained results of the programme, i.e. less than 0.2% damage in more than 90% of all commercial pome fruit orchards and a reduced use of insecticides (>70%) per hectare of orchard. A recently completed benefit cost analysis (BCA) has shown that the economic benefits per hectare of the OKSIR programme were much higher than compared with using conventional insecticides. Full Story »

FAO-IAEA advices Australia on the management of the nation’s major horticulture pest, the Queensland fruit fly. Some of Australia’s leading research agencies are better equipped to manage the Queensland fruit fly after receiving advice from the Insect Pest Control Subprogram of the FAO/IAEA Centre for the application of nuclear techniques in food and agriculture. Funded by the Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIA) and several core co-investors, the SITplus partnership aims to develop the capability to integrate in pilot areas the Sterile Insect Technology – a well-known technology that could transform the way this pest is managed in Australia and potentially New Zealand. Full Story » Press Release »

Sterilized Anopheles arabiensis males compete with wild males in locating and participating in mating swarms in Sudan. The application of the sterile insect technique (SIT) relies on the sterile males being able to mate with wild females after they are released. A study, recently published on the 12th December 2014 in Malaria Journal, by the Insect Pest Control Laboratory of the FAO/IAEA Agriculture & Biotechnology Laboratories in Austria in collaboration with the Tropical Medicine Research Institute, Sudan, demonstrated that irradiated Anopheles arabiensis males were able to locate and participate in mating swarms at a distance of up to 200 m within two hours of their release. Results also suggested that irradiated males may be able to initiate swarms, and point to the inclusion of a pre-release period as a means to increase their mating competitiveness. This observation crucially suggests that sterile males are able to participate and compete in courtship behaviour in the main mating arena observed in northern Sudan, the site along the Nile of a proposed pilot SIT programme against this vector of malaria, an encouraging indication of quality and performance of mass reared and irradiated male mosquitoes. Full Story »

Four devastating fruit flies pests are one and the same species. What difference could it possibly make if a bunch of scientists decided that what were once thought of as four different species of fruit fly actually belong to the same single species? Plenty, if the fruit flies in question are major plant pests, which these ones are. Full Story »

Four in one – new discovery on pest fruit flies. Four of the world's most destructive agricultural pests are actually one and the same fruit fly, according to the results of a global interdisciplinary research effort, involving close to 50 researchers from 20 countries, that was coordinated by FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Full Story »

One STEP Ahead: New Industrial Irradiator Inaugurated in Ethiopia. A wet panoramic irradiator has been recently inaugurated in the tsetse mass rearing facility of Kality in Ethiopia. This installation is a major milestone that will enable the Southern Rift Valley Tsetse Eradication Project to increase the rearing capacity of the insectary. It will mainly be used for the decontamination of the blood to feed the flies and for the sterilization of males to be released. Full Story »

Tsetse Fly Genome Breakthrough Brings Hope for African Farmers. Tsetse flies are the sole cyclical vectors of African trypanosomes to humans and animals in sub-Saharan Africa. The decoding of the genome of the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans is a major scientific achievement, it unravels the biological potential of this species and opens the door, in combination with the Sterile Insect Technique, for a more effective control of the pest and the disease. Full Story »

X-rays Can be Used to Sterilize Mosquitoes. New high dose self-contained X ray systems offer a practical alternative to isotopic sources for sterilizing insects for programmes using the Sterile Insect Technique. This alternative is used for mosquitoes sterilization ... Full Story »

How the FAO and IAEA are assisting the Government of Senegal in its efforts to eradicate tsetse from the Niayes area. In 2006, the Government of Senegal embarked on a project with the ultimate aim to create a sustainable G. p. gambiensis free area in the Niayes. The project has received technical and financial support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since its inception and has also benefited from the support of the USA (through its Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI)), and France (through the deployment of a CIRAD staff member on site in Senegal). Full Story »

Senegal nears first victory in war on tsetse fly. A campaign against the tsetse fly, a pest that transmits a disease that devastates livestock, in the Niayes area near the capital Dakar has radically reduced the fly population and is paving the way for complete eradication. Full Story »

Updated Mediterranean Fruit Fly Global Distribution Map. This updated map provides information on the distribution of the Mediterranean fruit fly, (Ceratitis capitata), throughout the world. Full Story »

The FAO/IAEA Tutorial DVD on Using Open Source GIS Techniques in Insect Pest Control Programmes. Area-wide insect pest control programmes rely on updated geospatial data for efficiently conducting and evaluating baseline data surveys and progress monitoring. Soft- and hardware available as geographic information system (GIS) packages are applied to analyse and understand these data for planning and implementing optimised pest intervention strategies. Full Story »

Glossina pallidipes tsetse colony in the Ethiopian Kality facility without salivary gland hypertrophy. Since 1999 salivary gland hypertrophy has been a major challenge to mass rear Glossina pallidipes tsetse flies from Ethiopia. Over the last eight years the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre has conducted pioneering research to develop an effective salivary gland hypertrophy management strategy. The virus management package was transferred to the Kality mass rearing facility in Ethiopia, where it has been successfully implemented since 2012. Full Story »

Suppressing Tsetse Flies to Improve Lives. The Southern Rift Valley Tsetse Eradication Project (STEP) has made significant progress in recent years in suppressing tsetse flies in an area of 25,000 km2 in Ethiopia. With the support of the FAO/IAEA Joint Centre, sterile males of the species Glossina fuscipes reared in the Kality insectary are being released weekly from aircraft in the Deme Basin. Full Story » - Slideshow

Pacific Coastal Area in Southwestern Guatemala Declared Mediterranean Fruit Fly Free Area. The Mediterranean fruit fly was eradicated from 107 360 hectares (1 073 km2) located in the southwestern border with Mexico which include the departments of San Marcos, Retalhuleu, Suchitepequez and Quetzaltenango. The pest was eradicated using sterile males of the Vienna-7 genetic sexing strain developed at the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory, and produced in the world's largest insect mass rearing facility at El Pino, Guatemala. This achievement will allow the export of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the region.
Full Story »

The FAO/IAEA Spreadsheet for Designing and Operation of Insect Mass Rearing Facilities, has been recently released. The sterile insect technique has in many countries become an important control tactic for integration in area-wide integrated pest management programmes against fruit flies of economic importance. An important prerequisite of these programmes is the availability of adequate numbers of sterile male flies that are produced in large mass-rearing facilities. Full Story »

Better Fruit For Neretva Valley. Farmers in Croatia are using nuclear technology to tackle the Mediterranean fruit fly, a common pest that poses a serious threat to the country's lucrative fruit industry. With the support of the IAEA and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Croatia is implementing the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). Full Story »

Technical leaflet released in three languages on the discrimination between two invasive Bactrocera fruit fly pests. During the 2nd International TEAM Meeting (Tepthritid Workers of Europe, Africa and the Middle East) in Kolymbari, Crete, Greece (see page 128 of the abstract book at, Salah, Abdelgader and Villiers reported that in July 2011, the invasive fruit fly pest Bactrocera zonata was recorded for the first time in Sudan from traps in three locations in Wad Medani, Gezira, Sudan. As this is a region where another methyl eugenol responding fruit fly pest already exists (B. invadens) and to help Sudan and other African countries to discriminate among these two invasive pest species, a technical leaflet in Arabic, English and French was prepared to help with differentiation between specimen of B. invadens and B. zonata. It was prepared by Marc De Meyer (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium) and Ian White (Natural History Museum, UK) and has been distributed electronically to the African participants of the TEAM meeting.

Joining Forces in the Fight Against Dengue Fever. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is currently taking the initiative for a sustained cooperation with the IAEA to promote the contribution of nuclear science and technology for the management of vector-borne diseases - in particular dengue fever. Therefore a workshop with international experts was held at the IAEA to discuss the integrated control of Aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of the dengue virus. Full Story »

Battling Bugs - IAEA Pest Eradication Work Boosts Guatemalan Produce Exports. The IAEA, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), helped deploy sterile insect technology (SIT), a nuclear application, to assist in curbing Guatemala's fruit fly population, thereby providing a host of new jobs and at least doubling, over four years, export earnings from non-traditional agricultural export crops of tomatoes, ... Read More »

Los Huistas Region in Northwestern Guatemala Declared Mediterranean Fruit Fly Free Area. The Mediterranean fruit fly was eradicated from Los Huistas region, Guatemala. This 220 000 hectares (2 200 km2) area is located in the northwestern border with Mexico. The pest was eradicated using sterile males of the Vienna-7 genetic sexing strain developed at the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories, and produced in the world's largest insect mass rearing facility at El Pino, Guatemala. This achievement will allow the export of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the region. Full Story »

Costa Rica exports "gourmet" tomato to the international market based on a successful technical cooperation projects supported by the IAEA and FAO. Costa Rica has now joined Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as Member States that have build their success as exporters of vegetables to lucrative markets around FAO/IAEA pest control cooperation projects. Full Story »

Review of the Ethiopian Tsetse Eradication Project STEP. An IAEA delegation, headed by Deputy Director General Mr. Werner Burkart, discussed with Ethiopian partners in Addis Ababa, 20 - 23 July 2010, the status of the IAEA- and FAO-supported Southern rift valley Tsetse Eradication Project (STEP). The project intends to expand the tsetse suppression operations to some 25 000 km² in the next 1-2 years. It is anticipated that, once developed for large scale application in Ethiopia, the sterile insect technique (SIT) will complement the area-wide and integrated pest management efforts". Full Story »

Significant damage was avoided to the ecosystem based on prickly pear in Mexico thanks to the eradication of Cactus Moth outbreaks from Caribbean islands of Mexico. The cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) is a great threat to important Opuntia crops of Mexico. Opuntia cacti have a great economic, environmental and cultural significance to the people of Mexico. Full Story »

Eradication of Cactus Moth Outbreaks from Isla Contoy, Mexico
The Mexican Government has officially announced that the Cactus Moth Cactoblastis cactorum, a serious threat to all prickly pear cactus species, has been eradicated from the island of Contoy, in the Mexican Caribbean. Full Story »

Balkan States Consider Sterile Insect Technique Against Mediterranean Fruit Fly
Fruit farmers in Southern Europe have been struggling for decades in a losing battle against the Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly, which is one of the world´s most destructive farm pests, since it lays its eggs in fruit and vegetables. Full Story »

Eradication of Cactus Moth Outbreaks from Caribbean islands of Mexico
The Mexican Government has officially announced that the Cactus Moth Cactoblastis cactorum, a serious threat to all prickly pear cactus species, has been eradicated from the island of Mujeres and island of Contoy, in the Mexican Caribbean, two years after the pest was first detected. Full Story »

No Love for Deadly Mosquitoes
In steamy sites ranging from Sudan to Tahiti, Mozambique to the United States, researchers are studying the sex life of the male mosquito - in order to halt reproduction.Why? Mosquitoes can be deadly carriers of disease, including malaria and yellow fever. Full Story »

Screw Worm Outbreak in Yemen
An outbreak of the insidious ´screw worm´ fly in Yemen, is threatening livelihoods, in a country where rearing livestock is a traditional way of life. In recent weeks, a Ministerial delegation was at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria, to turn to the international community for emergency assistance to fight the deadly pest. Full Story »

Tacna and Moquegua Regions in Southern Peru Declared Fruit Fly Free Areas
The Animal and Plant Health Service (SENASA) of Peru, a decentralized public institution of the Ministry of Agriculture, has informed that Peru, after more than 20 years of dedicated efforts has achieved the eradication of very destructive horticultural fruit fly pests. Full Story »

The Middle East's Fruitful Valley
[...] Scientists, politicians, and farmers from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority are winning a long and largely invisible fight against the odds. Their common foe: the Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly, one of the world's most destructive agricultural pests. Full Story »

Sterile Insect Technique Success in the Middle East Attracts International Media Attention
Under IAEA Technical Cooperation projects in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with additional extrabudgetary support from USAID's Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC) funds, FAO/IAEA technology was transferred for area-wide Mediterranean fruit fly control, including the use of the environment-friendly Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). Full Story »

Educational Resources for Agricultural Insect Pest Control - The ABC´s of S-I-T
A technology known simply as SIT has played an instrumental role over the past four decades in helping countries to protect their agricultural economies by controlling pests that threaten harvests. Today, more and more countries are interested in applying SIT, the sterile insect technique, as part of their food, health and animal protection campaigns. Full Story »

Science, Sex, Superflies - The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)
A spin-off of nuclear science and technology has changed the dynamics of a complex mating game. Along the way, it has spawned success stories - some small, some large - from Asia to Africa to the Americas during the IAEA´s first half century. Full Story »

World´s Second Biggest Sterile Insect Mass Production Facility Opens in Valencia for Medfly Suppression
Spain´s citrus fruit stands to become more competitive in international markets, thanks to expanded use of a pest control technology rooted in applications of nuclear science. A new pest-control facility - Europe´s first such large-scale plant - opened in Valencia in late April that experts say will cut the use of pesticides and protect citrus fruit from the destructive Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly). Full Story »

California´s Terminator
Californians have been battling the Medfly since Ronald Reagan governed the golden state. The invasive pest is among the worst threats to the state´s multi-billion dollar fruit and agricultural industry. Full Story »

Chile´s Leading Edge - South America´s Top Fruit Exporter Shows the Way
"The success we´ve had against fruit flies is the driving force for our fruit and vegetable industry. It shows the value of international cooperation and our bi-national control efforts with Peru and collaboration with Argentina and other neighbours," [...]. Full Story »

Argentina Poised for Growth in Export Markets - IAEA & FAO Help Country Meet Fruit Trade Goal
Argentina is poised to expand its export markets for apples, pears and other fruit from the agricultural fields of Patagonia, citing the IAEA and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for helping the country achieve the goal. Full Story »

Fruit Flies Fall and Markets Grow - Nicaragua, South Africa Among Latest Countries Citing FAO/IAEA Support
In the Americas and South Africa, science is on a roll and fruit fly pests are dropping like... well... they´re dropping like flies. The results are higher quality products, reduced insecticide use, and more profitable markets, especially to big consumers like the United States. Full Story »

Campaign Launched to Eliminate Tsetse Fly, which has Turned Much of Africa into a Green Desert
A new campaign to control the deadly tsetse fly in Africa, parasitic carrier of sleeping sickness, has been launched by the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Full Story »

A Programme for the Eradication of the New World Screwworm from North Africa - The New Screwworm Fly in Libya: A Review of its Introduction and Eradication
The two documents provide details on the planning and results of the New World Screwworm eradication programme in North Africa. The New World screwworm fly, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) became established in the Old World for the first time during 1988, in the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Full Story »

Defeating the Medfly
In December 1995, Chile's long battle with the Mediterranean fruit fly was officially declared over, marking a major victory for the country's farming community. Full Story »

Go to the top Back to top