Med Fly: Comprehensive Guide Made Easy

folder_openDiptera, Insecta
comment1 Comment

The Mediterranean fruit fly, also known as the Medfly, poses a significant threat to various fruits and vegetables. Native to Africa, it has spread to other parts of the world, including the United States, where it has been a persistent problem for farmers and home gardeners due to its destructive nature. These tiny insects lay their eggs in fruits, causing them to rot and making them unsuitable for consumption or sale learn more here.

In order to protect our food supply and avoid further spread, it’s important to be aware of Medfly quarantines in your area and avoid moving any non-inspected fruit and vegetables. Not only will this help save our local produce from damage, but it will also aid in maintaining the health of our ecosystems.

Med Fly: An Overview

Mediterranean Fruit Fly

The Mediterranean fruit fly, also known as Medfly, is a destructive pest that attacks various fruits and vegetables. It primarily affects fruits like peaches, apricots, and citrus fruits, which can cause severe damage to the agriculture industry (USDA APHIS). Medfly larvae feed on the fruit’s pulp, resulting in spoilage and loss.

Impact on Agriculture

  • Fruit damage and yield loss
  • Reduced export opportunities
  • Increased production costs

The Medfly’s impact on agriculture is significant, causing fruit damage and yield loss. It reduces export opportunities for affected regions, with restrictions imposed by importing countries to prevent the spread of the pest. In response, farmers face increased production costs to implement control measures, which may lead to higher food prices for consumers.

Quarantine and Control Measures

Quarantine measures and control methods play a crucial role in managing Medfly infestations and protecting agricultural industries.


  • Restrict movement of non-inspected fruits and vegetables
  • Learn about and adhere to USDA regulations in your area

Control Methods:

  • Pheromone traps
  • Sterile insect technique (SIT)
  • Biological control agents

Control methods to manage Medfly populations include the use of pheromone traps to monitor and detect infestations, as well as the sterile insect technique (SIT), which involves releasing sterile male Medflies to mate with wild females, interrupting their reproductive cycle. Biological control agents, like parasitic wasps, also help reduce Medfly populations by targeting their larvae.

MedFly in Aviation

Safety Regulations

  • AMEs should be aware of the Medfly restrictions in place.
  • Pilots and aircrew should comply with various health requirements.

For pilots and aviation personnel, Medfly regulations are set to ensure safety and prevent the spread of this agricultural pest. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) are responsible for enforcing these rules and ensuring that pilots and aircrew adhere to them.

Required Certifications

  1. BasicMed:
  • Pilots must consult a physician to verify their medical conditions.
  • Allows pilots to carry up to 5 passengers within the United States and the Bahamas.
  1. Medical Certificate:
  • FAA MedXPress is required to obtain a medical certificate.
  • Ensures pilots meet specific health standards.

Pilots have two primary options for fulfilling the FAA’s medical certification requirements: BasicMed and obtaining a medical certificate. With BasicMed, pilots consult with a state-licensed physician to verify that they have no disqualifying medical conditions. This option allows pilots to carry up to five passengers and operate within the United States and the Bahamas.

On the other hand, obtaining a medical certificate involves using the FAA MedXPress system for submitting the necessary information. This method ensures that pilots meet specific health standards required for different flight operations, including VFR, IFR, and Pilot in Command (PIC) responsibilities.

Certification Passengers Locations Flight Operations
BasicMed 5 max US, Bahamas VFR, some IFR
Medical Certificate Unlimited Worldwide VFR, IFR, PIC

Overall, it’s essential for pilots and aviation personnel to adhere to these regulations and certifications to ensure safe and responsible flying while minimizing the risk associated with Medfly-infested regions.

Traveling with Medication

Packaging and Transportation

When traveling with medication, it’s essential to pack them in a carry-on luggage to keep them accessible and ensure they aren’t lost or delayed. Maintain medications in their original, labeled containers with your full name clearly visible1. For convenience, you can use a pill box but keep the original containers with you for customs and security screenings. A good practice is to bring enough medication to last the entire trip, and extra for possible delays2.

Here’s a brief comparison of carry-on vs. checked luggage for medications:

Carry-On Luggage Checked Luggage
Easily accessible1 Might be lost or delayed1
Required for liquids3 Not ideal for liquids3

Customs and TSA Requirements

Understanding customs and TSA requirements can make international travel with medications smoother. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for determining the admissibility of specific pharmaceuticals4.

The TSA allows medications (pills) in both carry-on and checked bags5. However, any liquids, gels, or aerosols should follow the 3-1-1 rule: 3.4 oz or smaller containers, packed in one quart-sized clear plastic bag, and limited to one bag per passenger3.

For travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, the TSA Cares helpline provides additional assistance during the screening process. Call at least 72 hours before departure at (855) 787-22276.

Examples of packaging methods:

  • Pillbox for daily organization
  • Original, labeled containers for customs and screening1

Key points for customs and TSA requirements:

  • FDA determines pharmaceutical admissibility4
  • Pills allowed in carry-on and checked bags5
  • Liquids follow the 3-1-1 rule3
  • TSA Cares helpline for those with medical conditions6

BasicMed Program

Eligibility and Requirements

  • To be eligible for the BasicMed program, pilots need an existing U.S. driver’s license and a previous medical certificate, or meet certain medical education course completion requirements.
  • Pilots must visit a state-licensed physician every 48 months for a comprehensive medical examination.

Some important limitations include:

  • No operations for compensation or hire
  • No flights with more than 6 occupants
  • No flying above 18,000 feet MSL
  • Maximum airspeed of 250 knots


  • The BasicMed program offers an alternative to traditional FAA medical certification.
  • Pilots experience simplified medical requirements, reducing time and financial burdens.
  • AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) supports pilots through the process with valuable resources.


AOPA offers various resources for pilots in the BasicMed program:

  • AOPA BasicMed Pilot and Physician’s Guide: Detailed explanation on qualifications, limitations, and regulations
  • AOPA BasicMed Course: Free online medical education course for pilots
  • AOPA Medical Directory: Searchable database of qualified BasicMed physicians
Traditional Medical Certificate BasicMed
Requires regular renewals 48-month examination with state-licensed physician
Stricter medical requirements Simplified requirements
Specific pilot category limits Flexibility in operations

Pilots should review the FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations) related to the BasicMed program to ensure they stay compliant with all rules and limitations.

Protecting Produce

Importance of Inspection

Inspecting produce is essential to prevent the spread of pests like the Mediterranean fruit fly (Med Fly). Regular inspections can help identify infestations early, allowing for quick action and minimizing damage. In areas like California, where Med Flies pose a significant threat, cooperation with quarantine restrictions is crucial.

Commonly Affected Fruits and Vegetables

Med Flies are known to infest many fruits and vegetables. Some commonly affected examples include:

  • Figs
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Citrus fruits

Here’s a comparison table of the features and characteristics of figs and pears, highlighting their vulnerability to Med Fly infestations:

Fruit Features Characteristics
Fig Thin-skinned, sweet, and dense fruit Attracts Med Flies due to high sugar content
Pear Thin-skinned, juicy, and with a gritty texture Attracts Med Flies due to high water content

When protecting produce from Med Flies, it is essential to follow established guidelines for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables, as outlined by the FDA Produce Safety Rule. By adhering to these standards, we can diminish the risk of infestations and protect our valuable produce.


  1. 2 3 4


  3. 2 3 4

  4. 2

  5. 2

  6. 2

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Med Fly


weird fly
Location: Los Angeles, CA
October 25, 2010 11:59 pm
Fly on my car, what kind is it? Thanks
Signature: P Krueger

Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Dear P.,
Bar none, the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, or Med Fly,
Ceratitis capitata, is probably the single most notorious Invasive Exotic species in North America, except for perhaps the Gypsy Moth and the Japanese Beetle.  We lived in Los Angeles in the mid 1980s when convoys of helicopters flew over the city spraying malathion in a feeble attempt to eradicate the pest that was expected to decimate the citrus crop in California.  For such a famous insect, your photos are the first submissions of the Med Fly that we have ever posted.  You can read BugGuide for more information.

Thanks for getting back to me.  I’m originally from the mid-west and knew nothing of this fly.  Thank you!

Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Letter 2 – Med Fly in Laguna Beach


Subject: Odd fly
Location: Laguna Beach, CA 92651
May 1, 2013 11:50 pm
This fly looks similar to a bathroom fly but is somewhat different. It was crawling on a piece of paper in our living room. I live in Laguna beach California.
Signature: Robert

Med Fly
Med Fly

Dear Robert,
This sure looks like a Mediterranean Fruit Fly or Med Fly, Ceratitis capitata, to us.  See this matching image on BugGuide.  The Med Fly rose to notoriety and became a Southern California icon in the 1980s because of the aerial spraying that occurred in many parts of Los Angeles in an unsuccessful attempt to limit the spread of this invasive exotic species.  According to BugGuide:  “One of the world’s most destructive fruit pests, and the most economically important fruit fly species. Each infestation detected in FL and CA triggered massive eradication and detection effort. In CA, large numbers of sterile males are released and are not uncommon in some places. A female (they have a visible ovipositor on the rear tip of the abdomen) would be a sign of an infestation, and should be reported immediately.”  Your fly has an ovipositor, and we would strongly recommend reporting it to your local authorities.  You can probably contact the Center for Invasive Species at UC Riverside.

Wow, I had never seen one before.
An interesting side note: My 6-year-old grandson, who loves
entomology, caught the fruit fly outside on a plant using a real
insect aspirator. He brought it inside to show me and it got out of
the holding tube.
BTW, I see you live in Mt. Washington. My son and daughter both have
homes in Mt. Washington and they love it. Also, you must be friends
with the entomologist Julian Donahue, who I believe lives there too.
Thanks for identifying this “bug”! I will call the Center for Invasive Species.

Hi again Robert,
It really is a small world and Mount Washington is a gem of a community.  Also I am friends with Julian Donahue and I just saw him last night.

Hello Daniel,
Yes, it certainly is a small world! Please give my regards to Julian
the next time you see him. He knows me as “Robin” as I go by both
“Robert” and “Robin.”
BTW, Nick Nisson, the county entomologist ad agricultural commissioner
of Orange County told me today that the sterile Med Flies that they
released were 50% male and 50% female. So he said not to be concerned
but that if I found the fly (which was inside my living room) to send
it to him for examination.
Very best wishes,

Julian Donahue provides some insight
Small world indeed!
I’ve known Robin Commagère for decades, through The Lepidopterists’ Society.  …
BTW, the sterile medflies released by the agriculture folks usually have spots of a pink dye on them, so that they can be differentiated from non-sterile (and therefore of concern) flies.

Letter 3 – Med Fly still found in Los Angeles despite futile eradication attempts of the 1980s


Subject:  What type of fly is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles, California
Date: 09/19/2017
Time: 11:28 PM EDT
Hello, Bugman
Can you tell me what type of fly this is? Luckily it stayed on my hand long enough for me to take a somewhat clear image. I found this near my garden in Los Angeles.
How you want your letter signed:  Nancy

Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Dear Nancy,
Were you in Los Angeles in the 1980s?  This is a Mediterranean Fruit Fly, the dreaded Med Fly that caused so many millions of dollars to be spent on aerial spraying of malathion with helicopters.  We identified your Med Fly thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “One of the world’s most destructive fruit pests, and the most economically important fruit fly species. Each infestation detected in FL and CA triggered massive eradication and detection effort. In CA, large numbers of sterile males are released and are not uncommon in some places. A female would be a sign of an infestation, and should be reported immediately. Females have a visible ovipositor on the rear tip of the abdomen and lack the ornamented hairs on the male head.”  We do not see an ovipositor and it appears your individual has hairs on the head, so we suspect it is a male.  Though it is not identified as a female, this BugGuide image appears to be of a female.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Med Fly

Related Posts

1 Comment. Leave new

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed