The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT ) is a pest control method in which large numbers of a target pest insect species are grown, sterilised, and released into an area.
The sterilised insects compete with their wild counterparts for mates, but the subsequent mating does not produce any viable offspring. Over time this reproductive disruption leads to a decrease in the wild population numbers, eventually causing the population in the target area to collapse.
SIT has been used to successfully control a range of different pest insects both in Australia and abroad since the 1960’s. Recently the SIT and its application to Queensland Fruit Fly (Qfly) has benefited from a significant boost to research through the SITplus research program funding through Hort Innovation.
The NFFC SIT guide (PDF 670kb) provides more detailed information on SIT, including some of the benefits and challenges it faces, as well as opportunities for the future.