Phillips Hardware Tips: Fruit Fly Facts
The fruit fly is a species of the common housefly known as Drosophila melanogaster (try saying that three times fast!) and is distinguished by its red eyes (dark-colored in some species) tan thorax and black abdomen. They get their name because of their strong attraction to ripening or rotting fruit, which serves as a food source as well as a place to lay their eggs.
Adult fruit flies typically reach 3-4 mm in length and live 40 to 50 days. While fruit flies are most active during the fall harvest, they can be pests inside a home throughout the year. As you might imagine, fruit flies are also steady (although non-paying) customers in grocery store produce sections, and they love to hover around dumpsters, garbage cans or anywhere else they can scrounge a free, fruity meal.
All About Fruit Fly Reproduction
Fruit flies exhibit the typical four-stage insect reproductive of egg-larvae-pupae-adult. The larvae begin feeding on decaying fruit immediately upon hatching. It takes about one to two weeks to complete the entire metamorphosis. What makes fruit flies so difficult to control is that one female fruit fly can lay as many as 500 eggs in her short lifespan.
Fruit Fly Habitat
A common fruit fly habitat includes homes, grocery stores, restaurants and anywhere else that food may be rotting and fermenting. Most noticeable summer through fall, fruit flies can be a nuisance year round.
As the name implies, fruit flies are attracted to fruits, as well as vegetables, sitting out on store shelves, in bowls in kitchens, and ripening in the garden. They also breed in drains, garbage disposals, trash containers, empty beer and soda bottles or cans, and soppy mops and buckets. Fruit flies only need fermenting fruit or a moist film of organic material to breed and thrive.
Other Interesting Fruit Fly Facts You Might Not Know
A fruit fly fact that might surprise you is that these little buggers are quite fond of beer and wine! It’s not that they crave alcohol – you probably won’t see a fruit fly at an AA meeting anytime soon – they’re just drawn to any type of fermenting food source.
Fruit flies are also a valuable asset to scientists performing genetic research, since fruit flies and humans share 75% of those genes which cause disease. Their short lifespan is also amenable to examining changes and mutations that can occur between birth and death.
There are many ways fruit flies can break into your home. From hitching a ride on the local produce you picked up from the market, to simply finding cracks or improper seals in and around your windows or doors. It can be nearly impossible to deter fruit flies forever, because fruit flies can travel up to six miles a day, and detect strong odors from over 40 kilometers (or just under 25 miles) away!
How To Control Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are a common problem for many homeowners and are often seen swarming around kitchen fruit bowls and near garbage storage areas. How do you trap fruit flies?
TERRO® Fruit Fly Traps to capture and kill these annoying insects. The traps use a non-toxic, food-based liquid to lure fruit flies inside the apple-shaped trap. Once they enter the trap, they cannot escape to continue breeding. TERRO® Fruit Fly Traps last up to 30 days, but within a few days of placing the traps, your fruit fly problems will be a thing of the past.
Fruit fly sources – The goal is to eliminate potential breeding grounds, such as trash cans, food left out, drinks spilled and damp areas where food has been stored, like pantries.
Disposal – The first step to getting these pests out of your home is to throw away or refrigerate overly ripened fruits and vegetables. You’ll then want to empty trash cans and clean them of any spilled drink remnants or food particles.
Clean up – Spilled drinks and food residue can continue to draw in more flies, so it’s important to wipe down and clean surfaces with which food comes in contact, from the kitchen to the living room. Anywhere you eat is a place they can too!
Unwelcome return – Diligence is required when using a homemade solution, because eliminating their food source isn’t always entirely effective. Fruit flies can continue to breed in soiled mops, dirty drains and used drink containers long after traditional areas have been removed.