Med Fruit Fly, Ceratitis capitata

described as the most economically important fruit fly worldwide. In the Mediterranean Basin countries alone, its economic impact is estimated to caused losses of approx. USD 190 million every year..

Ceratitis capitata is prevalent in many parts of the world: across most of Africa, South Europe and South America and a total of 132 countries and groups of islands worldwide.

Female Medfly pierce the skin of fruit to lay 1-10 eggs around 1mm beneath the surface. Several females may use the same deposition hole so more than 75 eggs could be clustered in one fruit. Eggs hatch and larvae begin eating and forming tunnels. The damage occurs in stages as seen below. Secondary organisms such as bacteria and fungi gain access through the holes and cause decomposition to the plant tissue as an indirect result of the attack.

Ceratitis capitata, Mediterranean Fruit Fly

The Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata attacks citrus fruits, stone fruits and more than 260 different vegetables, fruit, citrus, pome fruits, stone fruits, berries and nuts. This fruit fly species originated in the Mediterranean and in countries such as Jordan and Lebanon. The pest is currently distributed across Central and South America, Europe and Northern Asia, the Mediterranean Basin and Africa. 

Larval feeding in fruit is the most damaging to crops. The larval tunnels provide entry points for bacteria and fungi that cause secondary infections and result in fruit rot.


Adult Ceratitis capitata live for up to ~2 months. Adults are 3.5 – 5mm and have banded wings. They are yellowish in colour with a tinge of brown. Live flies usually hold their wings in a drooping position. The wings are broad, transparent and glassy with black, brown and brownish yellow markings.

Eggs of Ceratitis capitata are laid below the skin of the host fruit. The eggs are long and smooth and 1/25 inch long. They hatch within 2-4 days. Each female will deposit 2-10 eggs. Each female can lay up to 800 eggs during her lifetime.

The complete life cycle can be completed in 20 days.

Larvae are whitish, with 3 developmental stages called instars. They grow up to 9mm long and feed for 6-11 days. The ideal conditions for the growth of Ceratitis capitata is between 13 and 28 degrees C.

Pupation takes place in the soil an inch or two below the surface under the host plant. This stage lasts for 6-11 days at 24-26C. Pupae are about 5 mm long, cylindrical and dark brown.

Ceratitis capitata will not survive sub-zero winter temperatures.

Nature of Damage


Russell IPM manufactures and supplies pheromone lure, traps and complete monitoring systems against the Mediterranean fruit fly (Med fly) Ceratitis capitata. Pheromone trap data gives an early warning of an infestation.

Trap Selection

The Flycatcher (McPhail) trap is the most sensitive trap to use for monitoring this insect. 
Do not re-use the trap to monitor different insects as this may lead to mixed catches.

Trap Density

Place two traps per hectare (2 traps/ ha) throughout the monitoring site.

Trap Position

Hang the pheromone trap near to the highest point of the plant, or approximately 2 meters high using supporting posts or from a suitable branch.

Data and Interpretation

Collect data weekly from the start of the flight of the over wintering generation. During the height of the population more frequent reading may be needed. Decisions on pesticide application should not be taken solely on the trap catch data. 
Climatic and biological considerations should be taken in account.

Al-Zaidi, S. et al. 2014 Evaluation of Ceranock Attract and Kill System to Control Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Ceratitis capitata) in Citrus Orchards of Iraq. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology A 4 (2014) 359-363

Field experiments were conducted using Russell IPM’s Ceranock bait station, “attract and kill” system to combat Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, in citrus orchards of Baghdad and Wasit governorates, Iraq, during 2013-2014 season.   The total trapped insects after two weeks of Ceranock were 59, 94, 142 and 205, 277, 765 adults for the firsst, second and the control orchards in the two locations, respectively. The results of this study demonstrate clearly the efficacy of Ceranock bait station, “attract and kill” system as a control measure for Medfly in citrus orchards.

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Bouagga, S. et al. 2014 Evaluation of an “Attract and Kill” System to Combat Ceratitis capitata on Peach Trees in Tunisia. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology A 4 (2014) 612-619

Attract and kill (AK) technology was evaluated against the Mediterranean fruit fly (Med-fly), Ceratitis capitata W.. Treatment was carried out in two peach orchards of four hectares each; first one located in Borj-Touil and the second in El-Kssibi Mornag, Northern Tunisia during the 2012 field season. AK is a specialized system based on hydrolyzed proteins and alpha-cypermethrin. During this study, 400 AK bait stations were placed in every hectare, four weeks before fruits color changes. The tested AK system was found effective in reducing the number of C. capitata population to 70% comparing to the untreated orchards. Fruit damages assessment showed significant differences between treatments in respect of decreasing infestation onto fruits. Study results indicated that AK baited treatments were able to reduce dropped and soften fruits infestation seven times than that of control plots. Fruit damages were restricted to 4%-5% in treated areas with AK system in compare to 31%-35% recorded in controlplots. This novel AK system showed good performance to combat Med-fly and can be successfully used to combat various fruit fly species when applied for an area wide application program.

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Arouri, R., et al. (2015), Resistance to lambda-cyhalothrin in Spanish field populations of Ceratitis capitata and metabolic resistance mediated by P450 in a resistant strain. Pest. Manag. Sci., 71: 1281–1291.

Field-evolved resistance to lambda-cyhalothrin has been found in C. capitata. Metabolic resistance mediated by P450 appears to be the main resistance mechanism in the resistant strain W-1Kλ. The levels of cross-resistance found may compromise the effectiveness of other pyrethroids for the control of this species. The withdrawal of malathion in the European Union in 2009 resulted in a large increase in lambda-cyhalothrin applications for the control of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, in Spanish citrus crops. Therefore, more biorational control strategies should be considered.

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