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Project Profile

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Northern R&D

Using sterile flies to control the Mediterranean fruit fly (MFF) in the Northern part of Israel


MFF is a pest damaging 300 species of fruits, citrus and vegetables. The common practice to control it is massive use of highly poisonous chemicals (such as organo-phosporos), which pose a great risk to the environment. In the new era of environment awareness, the use of sterile flies is increasing rapidly.   The Northern part of the country has become the fruit basket of Israel and hence, widely affected by the pest. The total area affected (including subtropical tree plantations, citrus and vegetables) is over 400,000 dunams (40,000 hectares). Several governmental, public and commercial institutes gathered together in purpose to apply the model, which was applied successfully in the far Southern part of the country. Some components in the projects are identified. These include: research, extension service, monitoring and aircrafts to spray the sterile flies from the air. The limit is production of flies: While the research infrastructure exists, implementing regional projects of such scale demands a weekly supply of 72 million pupas per week, or up to some 4 billion per year. The proposed project is to establish a hatchery in the Northern part of the country to serve and be incorporated into the MFF project.


Research Approach: The whole project will include professional and administrative planning, extension to farmers, monitoring and surveying. It will have as many suitable partners and co-sponsors as possible, such as: the Ministry of Agriculture and its Extension Service, the Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Board, Bio-bee and the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO). The pupas will be purchased from a plant that will be built in the premises of Bio-Bee in August 2004. Production is expected to start in July 2005. Distribution in Galilee is expected to start in January 2006. Chim-Nir will provide the aircrafts needed.


The main objectives of the project are:

  • The produce pest and chemical free agricultural products to meet new market and environment demands.

  • To establish a hatchery to provide the insects needed for the whole project.

Dr. David Cohen