Published On: Sun, Feb 25th, 2018

Israel Releases Millions of Sterile Male Flies to Combat Fruit Flies


Every week, 33 million sterile male flies are scattered from airplanes on citrus groves and agriculture in the Israeli farmland around Gaza Strip, as part of a unique project to fight pests.

The dispersion planes take off with the millions of male flies at the height of their sexual arousal in order to naturally expel the harmful Mediterranean fruit fly, one of the world’s most destructive fruit pests.

The male flies mat with the female fruit flies thus preventing the creation of the next generation of fruit flies.

Male flies are associated with the harmful females in the field that favor them over other males, but since they are not fertile, the creation of a next generation is prevented.

The environmentally friendly and chemical-free pest control is being carried out by Bio-Bee from Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu in Northern Israel for the Ministry of Agriculture.

As part of the maturing process of the male flies, the embryos undergo sterilization in a radioactive facility. When they are scattered in the air exposed to ambient temperature, they come to life and unite with the females.



The dispersal of flies spreads over an area of 35,000 dunams of orchards and other crops until close to the border of the Gaza Strip. According to the estimate, the project saves the use of 33,000 liters of chemical pesticides that the farmers had to use to carry out the pest control artificially, among others near settlements and people.

The sterile flies are part of a series of beneficial insects that Bio Bee cultivate to help farmers including pollinating bees and predatory insects and parasites that kill pests.

Founded in 2005 Bio Bee was designed to produce about 15 million pupae (male fruit flies) a week, and can now produce five times this amount.

The sterile flies are only part of a series of insects that Bio Bee cultivates, including pollinating bees, predatory insects and parasites that kill pests, for eco-friendly uses to help farmers.

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