FF-IPM – Fruit Flies In-silico / Prevention & Management


The FF-IPM project focuses on three economically important fruit fly species with broad host plant ranges that pose an immediate threat to European fresh fruit production. Tools will be created to predict where and when these fruit fly species are likely to be introduced into Europe and spread. In addition, new methods will be developed to rapidly detect and identify different developmental stages of these fruit fly species. Finally, more advanced novel management measures against these fruit fly species will be tested.

Project description

The three fruit fly species in the focus of the FF-IPM project are already present on several continents: the Mediterranean fruit fly(Ceratitis capitata) now also occurs in northern, temperate areas of Europe, the Oriental fruit fly(Bactrocera dorsalis) and the peach fruit fly(B. zonata) are two new (invasive) pests that pose an immediate threat to European fresh fruit production. The pests spread, on the one hand, by natural migration to new, climatically suitable areas and, on the other hand, by transport of infested fruit through trade and tourism.

The risk of introduction and establishment of invasive, economically important fruit fly species to Europe has greatly increased in the last decade due to climate change and will continue to increase. Appropriate transnational coordinated research and development efforts are needed to develop an improved, reliable and efficient European surveillance and control strategy for these plant pests.

Within the project, FF-IPM experts will use existing tools and services for pest monitoring and control, develop innovative early warning systems and associated species-specific detection and early eradication methods for all stages of pest development, up to containment and eradication measures within the framework of Integrated Pest Management concepts in Europe. Innovative prevention tools are being developed for the detection of fruit infested with fruit flies (e-nose) and for the rapid identification of offending imported consignments (rapid molecular plague ID tools) and means of production in the processing industry. Species-specific e-trapping systems (trapping systems) will be further developed for the three fruit fly species and deployed through novel detection strategies based on spatial modeling. "ON as well as OFF-season" (in-season and out-of-season) approaches to Integrated Pest Management and different detection strategies will be tested for effectiveness at selected sites in eight different countries. The data generated from experiments on overwintering dynamics, behavior under stress conditions, establishment and dispersal patterns at low population densities in combination with spatial population models will help to better understand the critical factors for emergence and establishment of new pests in times of climate change.

Specific objectives of the project:

  • Create a fundamental paradigm shift in integrated pest management against fruit flies from in-season (ON-season) to off-season (OFF-season) measures.
  • Increased efficiency of integrated pest management measures through the use of innovative simulation and modeling programs and the development of novel measures and services.
  • Improved management of phytosanitary risk due to the introduction of harmful fruit fly species through the use of innovative prevention, detection and diagnosis measures and novel policies and services.
  • Implement European plant health policy and provide technical support to relevant local, regional and European plant health authorities.

Our project focus areas:

We are focusing on questions

  • overwintering potential and cold tolerance of selected fruit fly species
  • the development of molecular detection methods for selected fruit fly species
  • to test molecular detection methods for tracing the origin of fruit flies and for recording seasonal population dynamics
  • to test e-trapping systems
  • on the development of infrastructure and tools to support decision making for prevention and plant protection measures
  • on the benefits and feasibility of the newly developed control strategy in accordance with existing legal standards.
  • Partial cooperation with the Euphresco network on diagnostic issues.

Benefit of the project

By developing holistic, knowledge-based approaches and innovative pest management measures, seamless local fruit fly management adapted to the annual cycle can be created to more effectively reduce the risks posed by invasive fruit fly species to fruit production and the processing industry.

Project details

Project acronym: FF-IPM

Project Management: University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Project management AGES: Univ. Doz. DI Dr. Sylvia Blümel

Project partners: FF-IPM has 21 project partners/institutes from 10 EU countries plus Cyprus, Israel, South Africa, China and the United States of America and includes universities, applied, non-university research institutes and stakeholders from industry and business. Details can be found on the FF-IPM project website.

Funding: H2020-EU. - Increasing production efficiency and coping with climate change, while ensuring sustainability and resilience (Topic SFS-05-2018-2019-2020 - New and emerging risks to plant health).

Project duration: 09.2019 to 02.2024

Last updated: 07.03.2023

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