Background: The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is being applied for the management of economically important pest fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in a number of countries worldwide. The success and cost effectiveness of SIT depends upon the ability of mass-reared sterilized male insects to successfully copulate with conspecific wild fertile females when released in the field. Methods: We conducted a critical analysis of the literature about the tephritid gut microbiome including the advancement of methods for the identification and characterization of microbiota, particularly next generation sequencing, the impacts of irradiation (to induce sterility of flies) and fruit fly rearing, and the use of probiotics to manipulate the fruit fly gut microbiota. Results: Domestication, mass-rearing, irradiation and handling, as required in SIT, may change the structure of the fruit flies' gut microbial community compared to that of wild flies under field conditions. Gut microbiota of tephritids are important in their hosts' development, performance and physiology. Knowledge of how mass-rearing and associated changes of the microbial community impact the functional role of the bacteria and host biology is limited. Probiotics offer potential to encourage a gut microbial community that limits pathogens, and improves the quality of fruit flies. Conclusions: Advances in technologies used to identify and characterize the gut microbiota will continue to expand our understanding of tephritid gut microbial diversity and community composition. Knowledge about the functions of gut microbes will increase through the use of gnotobiotic models, genome sequencing, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metabolomics and metaproteomics. The use of probiotics, or manipulation of the gut microbiota, offers significant opportunities to enhance the production of high quality, performing fruit flies in operational SIT programs.