EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 02 - 1998 Num. article: 1998/36

Economic evaluation of three alternative control methods against Ceratitis capitata in Israel, Palestinian Territories and Jordan

A study was done to evaluate 3 alternative control treatments against Ceratitis capitata (EPPO A2 quarantine pest) in Israel, Palestinian Territories and Jordan. Recognizing the importance of C. capitata in the Mediterranean Basin, it has been estimated that if no control measures were applied in Israel, Palestinian Territories and Jordan, the annual fruit losses would be 365 million USD per year. For comparison, it can be noted that the production value of host fruits of C. capitata in this region is estimated at 611 million USD per year. Under current control programmes, direct damage (yield loss and control costs) and indirect damage (environmental impact and market loss) reach approximately 192 million USD per year, and it is felt that this amount is likely to increase if the current control programmes are kept as such.
The three alternatives are the following:
  1. suppression using bait sprays, which is the currently used technique. Steiner traps are used and capture of a single fly triggers a treatment (aerial or ground bait spray).
  2. Suppression using the sterile insect technique. In the first year, 2 or 3 bait applications are made to suppress the fruit fly populations before the release of sterile males. From year 2 or 3, suppression is maintained by constant release of relatively low numbers of sterile males (500-750/ha). However, with low levels of populations of fruit flies, multiple and dispersed outbreaks can still occur.
  3. Eradication using the sterile insect technique. In this alternative, sampling and control methods are used extensively and intensively. During the first 2-3 years, bait spray applications are done and followed by weekly massive release of sterile males (500-1,500/ha). From the year 4, the main activities are intense trapping.
An economic evaluation of costs and benefits of the 3 alternatives was done. In conclusion, the last two control operations gave good economic returns compared with the current control bait suppression. In the medium term (9 years) the sterile male suppression technique gives the highest return, but in the long term eradication would bring the best results.


Enkerlin, W; Mumford, J. (1997) Economic evaluation of three alternative methods for control of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Israel, Palestinian Territories, and Jordan.
Journal of Economic Entomology, 90(5), 1066-1072.