The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) used to control insect pests relies on the release of large numbers of radiation-sterilized insects. Irradiation can have a negative impact on the subsequent performance of the released insects and therefore on the cost and effectiveness of a control program. This and other problems associated with current SIT programs could be overcome by the use of recombinant DNA methods and molecular genetics. Here we describe the construction of strains of the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) harboring a tetracycline-repressible transactivator (tTA) that causes lethality in early developmental stages of the heterozygous progeny but has little effect on the survival of the parental transgenic tTA insects. We show that these properties should prove advantageous for the implementation of insect pest control programs.