How Do Fruit Flies Get Indoors?
What are they attracted to?
Produce and other unrefrigerated food items are a fruit fly’s dream, especially in the late summer as warm weather harvests ripen and ferment.
What may look like an innocuous piece of fruit waiting to be eaten could actually be posing as room and board to fruit flies already in tune with the early stages of its ripening.
Where can they be found?
In general, fruit flies can be found just about anywhere food is stored, including homes, restaurants and grocery stores.
Lay Eggs in Food
These tiny insects usually lay their eggs on or near foods and other moist, organic materials which are beginning to ripen or rot.
Hatch Within a Week
In less than a week, the larvae hatch and use the food in which they were hatched to nourish themselves and to begin a new reproductive cycle.
At up to 500 eggs a pop, fruit flies can quickly become an enormous and irritating infestation.
How Do They Get In?
In your home, the biggest draw for the following:
- Garbage disposals
- Trash cans
- Food storage areas such as the fruit bowls
They may also come into your home on over-ripened produce.
Although many people simply find fruit flies to be annoying, it’s important to get rid of them as they can potentially contaminate your food with bacteria and other organisms.
Prevention is Key
The important thing to remember is that although fruit flies only need a small bit of food in which to develop, preventing them is the key:
- Ripe Fruit – Throw away produce which is overly ripe or starting to rot.
- Wash Produce – Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables and cut out damaged portions of produce.
- Spills – Keep your floors, counters and cupboards clean of spills, crumbs and rotting produce. (Check the back of cupboards for stray potatoes or onions!)
- Sink – Wash dishes and keep drains clear.
- Used Towels – Don’t keep dirty dishrags and towels lying around.
- Disposal – Use the garbage disposal at least daily and check under the disposal seal for debris and food slime.
- Cover trash – Store trash in a covered bin and avoid throwing food into waste cans without a plastic bag.
- Spills in trash – Inspect the trash container to be sure that food wastes didn’t leak out of the garbage bag.
Elimination Can be Tricky
Eliminating fruit flies can be much more of a challenge than preventing them: the only way to get rid of them is to remove or thoroughly clean every possible breeding site.
Simply killing the flies that you can see doesn’t eliminate the eggs and the cycle will repeat itself over and over unless you are very thorough.
Identifying the source of the new flies can be difficult, especially in an environment where there are a number of potential breeding sites.
Traps can locate and eliminate some fruit flies, but eliminating their development sites is the best control option.
Typical development sites include:
- Near garbage cans.
- Under appliances.
- In fruit bowls.
- Anywhere that may harbor small bits of organic material.
Wait 1-2 weeks to determine if your efforts were successful. If they weren’t, the flies will reappear with the next hatching cycle and you will need to renew your efforts to identify where they are breeding and eliminate those sources.
In the Fall
Fruit flies Tend to Invade in the Fall
In fall, the last of the year’s crops may contribute to a pesky fall situation: an annual influx of fruit flies.
Fruit flies are perhaps the biggest sanitation-related pest, says Tom Mayfield, Newtown Square and Lititz Branch Manager – and he notes that October and November are often the worst months.
Why? Doug Wise, Service Manager, offers a hint:
“By November, the produce that we’re receiving has typically been sitting in a warehouse longer. Without proper sanitation and proper inspections of incoming produce shipments, fruit fly problems can be delivered to your business.”
Fruit fly larvae reside in fruit and then hatch out over time. In case you’re worried, it does no harm to ingest them – but as fruit sits and gets overripe, the flies will hatch and emerge.
However, it can become a customer service headache for restaurants and hotels striving to create a positive customer experience. What’s most important is to address the source of your problems quickly.
“With fruit flies, breeding activity indoors can become an issue.” Call Western today for a free inspection.
Call for service: (877) 250-3857
Learn more about Fruit Fly Control.
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