Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Mediterranean fruit fly or Medfly (Ceratitis capitata) is a serious horticultural pest in Western Australia (see map). It attacks many fruits and some vegetables. For decades, Medfly was controlled by cover spraying of orchards and post-harvest dipping with organo-phosphate insecticides, particularly dimethoate and fenthion.

Medfly distribution

Use of these chemicals is now restricted because of fears about human health and residue levels. Suspension by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority particularly affects crops with edible peel Dimethoate, Fenthion).

Without the traditional cover spray chemicals control of Medfly is most effective if carried out as part of an area-wide management program

Signs that Medfly is active include stings on fruit when female flies lay their eggs in ripening fruit which hatch into larvae.

Fly presence can be checked by trapping . Traps should be checked weekly. Action needs to be taken if the number of Medfly caught exceeds one fly/trap/week.

Weekly Medfly catch

Action required

10 or more

Weekly bait spraying
Twice-weekly bait spraying
Twice-weekly bait spraying, cover spray if necessary

Control strategies are recommended see Bait spraying, Cover spraying and Lure and Kill devices (Click Link for PDF): For other relevant information on Medfly Position, summaries and updates (Click Links for PDF):

  Bait spraying
  Cover spraying
  Lure and kill devices

Fruit West Position on Medfly and Biosecurity Risks

  Medfly Summary 2013-14

Medfly Summary 2 2013-14

  Medfly trapping results week ending 16 Jan 14.pdf
  Medfly summary week ending 31 Jan 2014.pdf
  Medfly trapping results week ending 7 Feb 14.pdf

Medfly trapping results 14 Feb 2014

Medfly trapping results week ending 21 Feb 2014

Medfly trapping results 25 April 2014

Medfly Trapping Results 2 May 2014



Under the Plant Diseases Act the control of Mediterranean fruit fly is compulsory. Trees must be treated, infected fruit picked and all fallen fruit gathered from the ground. Fruit disposal is the grower's responsibility and may include boiling, freezing and other methods. Burial and mulching are not ideal as the Medfly larvae may survive. Neglect could lead to prosecution.

Any landowner concerned about a nearby property should contact their local industry organisation, for example Fruit West.