The use of irradiated hosts in mass rearing tephritid parasitoids represents an important technical advance in fruit fly augmentative biological control. Irradiation assures that fly emergence is avoided in non-parasitized hosts, while at the same time it has no
appreciable effect on parasitoid quality, i.e., fecundity, longevity and flight capability.
Parasitoids of fruit fly eggs, larvae and pupae have all been shown to successfully develop in irradiated hosts, allowing a broad range of species to be shipped and released without post-rearing delays waiting for fly emergence and costly procedures to separate flies and
wasps. This facilitates the early, more effective and less damaging shipment of natural enemies within hosts and across quarantined borders. In addition, the survival and dispersal of released parasitoids can be monitored by placing irradiated sentinel-hosts in the field.
The optimal radiation dosages for host-sterility and parasitoid-fitness differ among species, and considerable progress has been made in integrating radiation into a variety of rearing procedures.