fruit fly picture

Fruit Fly Control: Protect Your Home

Appearance

What Do Fruit Flies Like?
fruit fly image
Size: Smaller than a housefly, fruit flies generally measure up to 1/8 inches in length, including the wings.

Color: The fruit fly exhibits a yellow to tan thorax, a yellow abdomen and black striping on the dorsal surface of the abdomen.

Characteristics: With a single pair of wings on the middle segment of the back, a round head with red or black compound eyes, and short antennae, the fruit fly appears similar to other fly species. While females are moderately larger than males, members of both sexes possess halteres, which enable the insects to remain balanced during flight. Fruit flies can be distinguished from other fly species by the presence of feathery arista on their antennae.

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Facts

  • Found in and around restaurants, homes, bars, fruit markets and other establishments that sell or utilize produce, the fruit fly is a considerable pest throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and the rest of the United States.
  • Also known as vinegar or pomace flies, fruit flies feed on the yeasts released by decaying organic matter such as fruits and vegetables.
  • The most prevalent species occurring in the region is the common fruit fly, or Drosophila melanogaster.
  • Fruit flies have been favored by biologists in the study of human genetics for over 100 years, as the insects share 75% of the genes that cause diseases in humans.

Food

What Do Fruit Flies Eat?
Fruit flies mainly feed on the yeast that forms when fruits and vegetables start to decay. The insects also consume other decaying matter.

Preferred food sources include:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fermenting liquids
  • Soda
  • Sweet juice

Biology

Read about the Fruit Fly life cycle.

Detection

  • Fruit flies generally appear around exposed produce in search of food and a site to lay their eggs.
  • Look for maggots around rapidly rotting fruits and vegetables.
  • Adult fruit flies are often found in glasses of wine or other attractive liquids left out overnight.

Problems Caused by Fruit Flies

  • Destroy Food – Fruit flies cause irreparable damage to fruits and vegetables.
  • Business – When left unchecked in bars, restaurants, grocery stores and similar businesses, the presence of the pests may lead to the loss of products and profits.
  • Disease – Though sometimes regarded as a nuisance pest, the fruit fly can also carry certain disease-causing organisms from coming into contact with excrement, trash receptacles and dumpsters.
  • Sickness – In rare cases, humans and pets may ingest live larvae which can lead to myiasis and diarrhea.

Signs of Infestation

The fruit fly often enters buildings from:

  • Compost piles
  • Dumpsters
  • Trash receptacles where produce is disposed

Attracted to uncooked foods and the yeast produced by over-ripened fruits and vegetables, fruit fly infestations can rapidly get out of hand.

The presence of quickly decomposing produce attracts the pests and sustains their larvae.

Check for any visible indications of fruit flies in:

  • Drains
  • Garbage disposals
  • Trash cans
  • Food storage areas

Prevention Tips

  • Remove food source – Perhaps the best way to help eliminate fruit fly infestations is to remove anything that attracts the insects.
  • Cover containers – Leaving produce unsupervised and uncovered invites the pests to feed and breed.
  • Cleanliness – Maintaining proper sanitation of food preparation and storage areas remains critical to keeping fruit flies away.
  • Behind appliances – In restaurants and bars, cleaning hard-to-reach areas, such as behind refrigeration units and under stoves where food can collect will also help eliminate attractive breeding sites.
  • Get rid of trash – Regularly emptying trash cans and recycling bins helps discourage fruit flies from infesting as well.

Tips for Removal from Home

Home remedies for capturing and eradicating fruit flies include trapping the insects in a jar filled with cider-vinegar or a similar substance, with a paper funnel serving as the lid.

Chemicals and store-bought traps may also prove beneficial for smaller infestations. As the fruit fly is quick to reproduce, infestations can rapidly become uncontrollable.

Read more about fruit flies indoors.

Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.

Call for service: (877) 250-3857