Abstract: The Mediterranean Fruit Fly, or medfly, Ceratitis capitata Wiedemann (Diptera:
Tephritidae) is an endemic pest in the fruit growing areas on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. If no control measures are applied, C. capitata could result in important economic losses in crops, such as citrus, persimmon, peaches, apples, pears or figs. The Valencian Community (Spain) is the largest national producer and the leading region on fresh citrus export in the world, and C. capitata is a quarantine pest for several destination countries.
For over 50 years, the Department of Agriculture of Valencia leads, promotes and carries
out a program to manage C. capitata, especially on citrus fruits. Traditionally, pest control was based on the use of insecticides. However, from 2003 to 2006, a successful pilot project in which Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy based on the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) was conducted. In 2007, these good results boosted the implementation of an Area Wide Integrated Pest Management (AW-IPM) Programme for the suppression of C. capitata in which SIT is the primary method of application.
A mass rearing facility to produce medfly sterile males was built in Caudete de las Fuentes
(Valencia) in 2006. It is currently one of the largest facilities in the world, with a maximum
production capacity of 500 million sterile pupae per week. This Programme is implemented by the state-owned company Grupo TRAGSA. As a result, there has been a large reduction (more than 90%) in the use of insecticide by aerial means to control C. capitata as well as a rising trend in the export of citrus and fresh fruits from the Valencian Region in recent years.