Mediterranean Fruit Flies

Ceratitis capitata, or Mediterranean fruit fly, is said to be one of the world’s most harmful fruit pests. The Mediterranean fruit fly is better able to tolerate cool climates than other species of tropical fruit flies. They also travel in huge swarms. Native to Saharan Africa, it is not known when the Mediterranean fruit fly first entered the United States. When it was detected in some parts of California and Florida, each infestation prompted massive and rigorous measures.

close up of fruit fly feeding

Mediterranean fruit fly larvae feed and mature on many subtropical and tropical fruits, as well as some vegetables. Although it is considered a major pest of citrus fruits, it is a more serious threat to short-lived fruits such as apples, pears and peaches. Larvae feed upon the pulp of host fruits and sometimes destroy the entire fruit. In some Mediterranean countries, fruit fly infestations are so severe that only early citrus fruits are grown. In these areas, harvesting also commonly occurs prior to the fruit’s complete development.