Fruit flies can seem like harmless bugs. They generally stick around one area without a lot of traveling and are small enough that we barely notice their existence. However, their presence can indicate a larger problem that you should take steps to address immediately. Their habits of feeding and breeding on decaying fruits and vegetables can ruin food stores and raise the risk of spreading food-borne pathogens like E-coli. Learn more about the different varieties and their reproduction with our Pest Library from the pros at MosquitoNix®.
Fruit flies are tiny. An adult fruit fly will measure only about 1/8-inch long. The scientific name for them is drosophila melanogaster, and they are brown to tan in color with translucent wings and red eyes. They are so small that usually only the adults can be seen. Larvae are tiny, white worm-like maggots.
Fruit flies have a rather small range and typically stay close to where they breed, typically within rotting fruit and vegetable matter. Fortunately, they have mouthparts that have evolved to only sop up liquid and cannot bite or sting humans or animals, so they don't carry the wide variety of diseases that houseflies and mosquitoes do. However, they are considered a nuisance because they can consume and ruin vast quantities of food, often hiding in storage facilities to wait out cold weather, then emerging seemingly at once when it warms up.
Though adult fruit flies only live a few months, they reproduce very quickly. A single female may lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime, and larvae mature to breeding capabilities within about a week. Like most insects, fruit fly larvae mature by a process of metamorphosis through a pupa stage and into adulthood. They are capable of breeding as soon as they emerge as adults. Fruit fly eggs and larvae are particularly tough to spot because of their tiny size, making it difficult to eliminate an infestation. Eggs are laid on ripe or overripe fruit, which then becomes food for the larvae.
Fruit flies are found in all temperate climates of the world. They require the presence of water and relatively warm temperatures, so high elevations, arctic climates and deserts are not favored habitats. Fruit flies are generally spotted in kitchens and around food waste. They seek out fruit or vegetables that may be going bad and will gravitate toward trash cans and spills of sugary liquids such as soda or coffee drinks.
Solutions for Fruit Flies in Your Home
Controlling fruit flies in the home is fairly simple compared to other pests. We've seen some people try traps and swatters, but those solutions only address the adults. The hard-to-see eggs and larvae are the real problem. Those will hatch, grow into adults and lay many more eggs before you can take care of them.
The best strategy at controlling fruit flies is proper sanitation. Keep kitchen surfaces clean, send any overly ripe foods to the trash, and keep garbage cans and recycling bins covered with tight-fitting lids. In offices, make sure desks are kept clear, messes are cleaned up and trash is emptied regularly. Once breeding areas are eliminated, your fruit fly problem will quickly disappear, but you must be diligent, as one old piece of fruit can begin the cycle all over again.
When it comes to stopping an infestation for good, MosquitoNix can help. Our staff of pest control experts can tell you all about our affordable service options and what would work best for ridding your property of a fruit fly problem with a free quote.