The Mediterranean fruit fly or medfly is one of the most destructive
agricultural insects in the world.
The medfly can affect over 250 species of fruits, vegetables, and
other crops. The medfly prefers fleshy fruits, but may infest virtually
any fruit, particularly citrus, as well as most vegetables raised in
The United States is eager to see medfly populations reduced
because the potential costs per year due to export sanctions, lost
markets, treatment costs and crop losses are in the billions.
The medfly has been a plague to California for over 70 years. Eradication
efforts have never been totally successful, so continued control is essential.
Current control procedures involve placing traps in trees to identify medfly
In the past, aerial and ground bait spaying of Malathion was the standard
The continued use of Malathion has taken its toll. People who have been
exposed to Malathion experienced problems in their nervous and respiratory
The chemical spraying also caused considerable environmental pollution and
the medfly was developing resistance.
Due to these problems the California State Assembly has banned the use of
McNeil Enterprises has developed an economic and
environmentally friendly alternative to chemical spraying in
Meet Dory (Doryctobraon) a natural predator of the medfly.
Dory is being bred commercially by McNeil Enterprises and has
been approved by the USDA as an acceptable alternative to
chemical spraying in residential areas.
Dory is sterile so it will not become another pest to be dealt with.
Once I had my idea I started to research
I learned that it originated in Africa, how
it spread, and that its hosts were over
250 different fruits, flowers, vegetables
The medfly causes major damage to its
hosts, and has a major impact on
growers both through damaged and
Control of the medfly included:
Traps to identify infestation.
Aerial and ground bait spraying with
Introducing sterile medflies to reduce
PROBLEMS WITH MALATHION…
There were problems with Malathion spraying
Some people who were exposed experienced
problems in their nervous and respiratory systems.
Repeated spraying also caused considerable
In 1990, under considerable public pressure, the
California State Assembly banned the use of
Natural predators of the medfly seemed like a good way to
Research showed the medfly has many natural predators:
Microorganisms like bacteria
I picked Doryctobracon because it was native to both North and
South America and had already been introduced to the United
I researched Doryctobracon
It had been successfully introduced in Florida and
I realized that it should be sterilized before being
introduced so it wouldn’t just create a new problem.
Made the body out of
Used pipe cleaners for the
legs and mouth pinchers.
Step #2 (major challenge)
Made the wing out of