Abstract 1 The egg-prepupal parasitoid Fopius arisanus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) was evaluated in quarantine facilities as a potential biological control agent for the olive fruit fly Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae) in California, U.S.A. 2 Nontarget testing of two weed biological control agents confirmed that F. arisanus will not attack Tephritidae that feed in inflorescences or galls. It may, however, pose risks to native Tephritidae that feed in fruit. 3 Females preferentially oviposited in eggs, although first-instar B. oleae were also attacked. Low lifetime reproductive potential and high rates of direct mortality inflicted on host eggs indicate that rearing on B. oleae may prove difficult. 4 In multiparasitized B. oleae, F. arisanus prevailed in competition against two species of larval–pupal parasitoids, Diachasmimorpha kraussii and Psyttalia concolor (both Hymenoptera: Braconidae). 5 The broad host-range of F. arisanus with respect to fruit-feeding Tephritidae may preclude its introduction to California, as may its low fecundity and its intrinsic competitive superiority over larva l–pupal parasitoids, which include specialists on B. oleae that are currently being introduced to California. High rates of direct mortality, however, point to potential uses in augmentative biological control. Whether or not F. arisanus is released in California, its biology as a parasitoid of B. oleae has been little studied to date and the results herein may be applied in other regions worldwide where B. oleae is a problem.