Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni; Q-fly) pupae are routinely irradiated to induce reproductive sterility in adults released in a sterile insect technique programme. Although there have been some studies of how total dose influences fly quality, dose rate has not been considered. In the present study, pupae were irradiated at a target dose range of 70-75 Gy at dose rates of approximately 5, 7, 26, 57 and 80 Gy/min and were then subjected to routine IAEA/FAO/USDA quality control tests including emergence, flight ability, mortality under stress and sterility induction. No significant effects of dose rate were found on emergence or flight ability. Sterility induction was also found to be independent of dose rate, a result conforming to a 'one-hit' ionizing event hypothesis. Flies irradiated at higher dose rates suffered increased mortality under stress. This appears to stem from an increased tendency to over-shoot the target dose when irradiating at high dose rates. We recommend that, to reduce potential error in total target dose, the lowest practical dose rate be used when irradiating Q-fly pupae for use in the sterile insect technique.