Mating–induced reductions in female receptivity are common in insects. These responses are of interest because of their utility in insect pest control. In addition, the control of receptivity is likely to be the subject of sexual conflict over remating frequency. We investigated the specific effect of male sterility on female receptivity in an important pest species, the Mediterranean fruitfly (medfly), in which sterile males are often used for population suppression. Sterile males performed less courtship, obtained significantly fewer first and second matings than fertile males, and reduced female receptivity significantly less effectively than did fertile males. We modelled the likelihood of fertile matings and show that the low mating success of sterile males represents a significant problem for medfly sterile insect technique (SIT) programmes.