Many people enjoy adding fresh fruits and vegetables to their recipes during the summer. Though they are a delicious addition, they can also attract fruit flies. These flies are notorious for invading homes in search of food. We’ve gathered information about fruit flies to help you identify and treat an infestation.
What Do Fruit Flies Look Like?
Fruit flies are smaller flies that grow up to 1/8″. The color of their body ranges from tan to black, and they have a two-toned abdomen. The top of their abdomen is black, and the bottom is gray. Though fruit flies are often mistaken for gnats, their eye size and color can help you identify them. Most fruit flies have large, red eyes, though some can have darker eyes. Their eyes are easier to see than gnats who have much smaller eyes. Fruit flies have some hair on their body and their feet are sticky.
What Causes Fruit Flies in the House?
Like many pests, fruit flies enter homes looking for food. These flies get their name from their attraction to fruit, especially if it’s overripe. They eat fruit, honeydew secreted by aphids, leaves, and plant sap. Fermented food and drinks attract them too. Your home also offers perfect breeding spots for fruit flies. They like to breed in areas that are dark and moist like drains, trash cans, and garbage disposals. These flies will also lay eggs on produce. You can expect to find these flies in kitchens, basements, and bathrooms. They’re most active in the summer when food is readily available, but they can be a problem year-round.
Are Fruit Flies Harmful?
Fruit flies don’t have biting mouthparts, so you don’t have to worry about them biting you. Unfortunately, they still cause other problems. Since fruit flies feed and lay eggs on fruit, they can contaminate it. Fruit flies spend time in areas that aren’t sanitary, like trash cans, and any bacteria or pathogens they have picked up on their sticky feet can be transferred to the food.
How Long Do Fruit Flies Live?
Temperature and food availability affect the lifespan of a fruit fly. Most adult fruit flies live about 30 days. Depending on environmental conditions, they can live up to 50 days. Immature fruit flies can develop into adults in about a week. Adult females can lay 500 eggs that will hatch within 24-30 hours. Their ability to breed and develop quickly can lead to a serious infestation. This can make controlling an infestation difficult.
How Do You Prevent Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies are attracted to produce and sugary organic materials. One of the best ways to prevent a fruit fly infestation is to eliminate their food source. Store produce in an air-tight container or in the refrigerator. Check fruit and vegetables before bringing them into your house. Remove over-ripe produce and clean up any spills or crumbs. It’s important to regularly clean drains, trash cans, and garbage disposals since this is where fruit flies like to breed.
How Do You Get Rid of Fruit Flies?
When fruit flies invade your home, treating the infestation quickly will help to keep the problem from getting out of hand. You’ll want to locate the main source of the infestation—where the flies are feeding and breeding. Using a trap, like our Fruit Fly Trap, to lure and kill fruit flies can help prevent breeding. You can also directly spray the fruit flies with our Flying Insect Killer aerosol. Not only will this kill on contact, it also provides residual repellency. You can also treat your drains with our Drain & Fruit Fly Killer.
A fruit fly infestation can be difficult to control, so it’s important to take steps to prevent them from taking over your home. Make sure to keep your home clean and keep an eye on your produce. If you’re dealing with fruit flies or other pests, we want to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products.