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Citrus Pests




Scientific name


Bactrocera spp. (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Other common names


The genus includes approximately 500 species. Many of these are either known or believed to have the potential to damage a diverse array of important crops. A few of the important pest species include:

Asian fruit fly, Bactrocera invadens

Carambola fly, Bactrocera carambolae

Chinese citrus fruit fly, Bactrocera minax

guava fruit fly, Bactrocera correcta

Malaysian fruit fly, Bactrocera latifrons

melon fruit fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae

olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae

oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis

peach fruit fly, Bactrocera zonata

Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni

Similar species


Fruit flies in the genera Anastrepha and Ceratitis, including economically important pests such as the Mexican fruit fly and the Mediterranean fruit fly, may be confused with Bactrocera species.



United States: Certain species of Bactrocera are occasionally found and eradicated in Arizona, California, Florida, and Hawaii.

Worldwide: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Mediterranean, and South America.

The majority of species in genus Bactrocera are native to Southeast Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific.

Diagnostic characteristics

  • Larger than a housefly, 8 mm (0.31 in.) in length.
  • Color is variable, but with yellow and dark brown to black markings on the segment where the wings attach (thorax).
  • 4.9 mm (0.19 in.) in length.
  • Dark reddish-brown.
  • Cylindrical.
  • Creamy white.
  • 10 mm (0.4 in.) in length.
  • White.
  • 1 mm (0.04 in.).
  • Elongate and elliptical.


Citrus hosts
  • All Citrus species and their hybrids.
  • The following species are recorded as damaging citrus: B. correcta, B. cucurbitae, B. dorsalis, B. invadens, B. minax, B. tryoni, and B. zonata.
Non-citrus hosts

Very broad host range that includes over 150 species. Some species specialize on one family while others are potential pests of many families of plants. A partial list includes:

  • Annona spp.
  • Apple, Malus domesticus
  • Apricot, Prunus armeniaca
  • Avocado, Persea americana
  • Banana, Musa spp.
  • Carambola, Averrhoa carambola
  • Coffee, Coffea spp.
  • Fig, Ficus spp.
  • Guava, Psidium guajava
  • Kumquat, Fortunella japonica
  • Loquat, Eriobotrya japonica
  • Mango, Mangifera indica
  • Melon, Cucumis spp.
  • Olive, Olea europaea
  • Orange jasmine or orange jessamine, Murraya paniculata
  • Papaya, Carica papaya
  • Peach, Prunus spp.
  • Pear, Pyrus communis
  • Persimmon, Diospyros spp.
  • Strawberry, Fragaria spp.
  • Surinam cherry, Eugenia uniflora
  • Tomato, Solanum lycopersicum

Host damage

  • Eggs deposited in the fruit leave oviposition scarring.
  • Larvae feed on fruit pulp.



Many species of Bactrocera have not been well-studied. The following is a generalized life history for Bactrocera fruit flies. Mated females deposit eggs within the flesh of the fruit on a host plant. Larvae hatch in a few days and burrow into interior of the fruit to feed on the pulp for 4 - 12 days. The larvae then drop from the fruit to pupate in the soil. Adults emerge 7 - 10 days later and feed for a period of time before mating. Many generations are possible annually.



(FFTC) Food and Fertilizer Technology Center. 2008. Important pests of citrus in Asia. (

Margosian, M.L., C.A. Bertone, D.M. Borchert, Y. Takeuchi. 2007. Identification of Areas Susceptible to the Establishment of Fifty-three Bactrocera spp. (Diptera: Tephrididae: Dacinae) in the United States. (USDA/APHIS/PPQ) United States Dept. of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine. (

(NAPIS) National Agricultural Pest Information System. 2012. Survey Status ofBactrocera oleae. Purdue University. (

Weems, H.V. and J.B. Heppner. 2010. Featured creatures fact sheet: Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel) (Insecta: Diptera: Tephritidae). Publication EENY-83. University of Florida. (

Weems, H.V. and J.B. Heppner. 2010. Featured creatures fact sheet: Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Insecta: Diptera: Tephritidae). Publication EENY-199. University of Florida. (

Weems, H.V. and J.L. Nation. 2010. Featured creatures fact sheet: Bactrocera oleae (Rossi) (Insecta: Diptera: Tephritidae). Publication EENY-113. University of Florida. (



Weeks, J.A., A.C. Hodges, and N.C. Leppla


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012