The female pierces the skin of a healthy fruit and lays innumerable eggs inside.

Fly larvae hatch from the eggs and eat their way through the host.

As a result, rot also occurs.

That's something fruit growers don't need.

You want to harvest and sell the apples and plums and not leave them to a pest.

Since the oriental fruit fly does not stop at vegetables such as aubergines and peppers, there is a reporting and control obligation in the European Union and Switzerland.

The situation is similar with the peach fruit fly.

Like the oriental fruit fly, it comes from Asia.

Their females also leave puncture marks on the fruit, and their larvae gnaw away the peaches from the inside.

When in doubt, damage only becomes apparent when it is too late.

"They are among the most important harmful fruit fly species worldwide and can massively endanger the fruit and vegetable harvest in affected countries," know experts from the Justus Liebig University led by Marc Schetelig, who are already involved in combating the spotted-wing drosophila.

Infertile male fruit flies

Schetelig heads a consortium of researchers that, with the support of the European Union (EU), will start investigating how the so-called sterile insect technique can help against invasive fruit fly species.

The EU will pay seven million euros, 1.5 million of which will go to the university in central Hesse, according to the announcement.

The aim is a long-term, effective and environmentally friendly protection of fruit and vegetable cultivation in Europe.

The EU wants to prevent the spread as early as possible.

"The Mediterranean fruit fly serves as a template for the new Bactrocera control strategy," quotes the Schetelig University of Applied Sciences, who heads the insect biotechnology department in plant protection there.

In the case of the sterile insect technique, infertile males are released into the wild.

When such males mate with normal females, they produce no offspring.

As a result, the population of the corresponding fruit fly decreases.

"For this purpose, the harmful insect is bred in large quantities, sterilized and then released in the affected areas," according to the Gießen experts.

This is far more effective than releasing sterile males and females at the same time.

Against this background, the researchers working with Schetelig will examine the genome of the pests and develop and evaluate genetic systems for gender segregation.

"The systems are needed to enable the breeding of purely male populations," says the entomologist.

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