Fruit Fly, Don’t Bother Me!

By:

Robin Mountjoy

April 4, 2015

You’d think that, with a life cycle of approximately 25 days, fruit flies would spend a little less time pestering us. But, lo and behold, fruit flies make it their mission to drive us crazy year round. They’re especially active in the summer months, so we thought now would be a smart time to talk about how to keep these pests out of your kitchen. At Connor’s, we know plenty of tricks that will help rid your home of fruit flies and prevent a long-term infestation. But first, let’s dive into some fun facts about these brown banana-loving pests.

Did You Know?

  • The common fruit fly ranges between three to four millimeters in length, is tan or light brown, and typically has protruding red eyes.
  • Unsurprisingly, fruit flies commonly lay their eggs in and feed on fruit, but they’re also attracted to decaying meat, sugary substances, and fermenting sugars found in spilled alcoholic drinks.
  • Fruit flies can enter your home on fruit or through open doors and windows.
  • The common fruit fly undergoes a four-stage life cycle: Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult.
  • Common fruit flies are the darlings of the research world, responsible for advancing understanding in cancer research, insect flight, and more.

How To Spot A Fruit Fly Infestation

The most common indicator of a fruit fly infestation is the presence of pupae or adult fruit flies. The adult flies can be seen in kitchens or near trash cans where decaying fruits and other foods are found. Pupae aren’t as easy to locate since they typically mature in a cool, dry place away from the food source.

If you think that you have a fruit fly infestation, dispose of all overripe or damaged fruit, and make sure to store any fruits brought home in the refrigerator so that they won’t become easy prey. Since fruit flies feed on decaying food, make an effort to regularly wipe down your counters and empty your trash cans more frequently. Removing crumbs, spills, and garbage eliminates the flies’ food source.

Combating An Infestation

What makes a fruit fly infestation so difficult to battle is that adult fruit flies are often flying around far from the infestation source. Once you’ve cleared out all ripe and/or rotting fruit, flies might still be present. This is because they’ve likely found other breeding and feeding grounds.

Areas likely to harbor fruit flies include cupboards, pantries, and, perhaps the most overlooked hiding place: unclean drains. If not regularly cleaned, your kitchen sink’s drain can contain a buildup of sugary substances, old food bits, and all types of things that fruit flies love. Bacteria-eating rinses can usually effectively clean out infestations in drains.

Outdoor drains and overripe fruits that have fallen from trees are common sources of yard-based fruit flies.

Infestation Solutions

As mentioned earlier, fruit fly infestations are often difficult to combat. Fruit fly traps can provide temporary relief by trapping adult fruit flies. You can purchase fruit fly traps or make your own. Real Simple suggests sticking a paper cone into a clean glass jar or wine bottle that’s been baited with a bit of apple cider vinegar or a slice of banana. The flies will go in, but they can’t get out.

The only way to keep a fruit fly infestation at bay is to clear out all possible breeding and feeding grounds. It may take some time, but fly populations will eventually die out from a lack of food. It’s important to keep a clean kitchen and be aware of the warning signs of an infestation.