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fruit flies


Adult fruit flies are about 1/8 of an inch (3mm) long, with bright red eyes, tan heads and thoraxes, and blackish striped abdomens. Like all flies, they develop by complete metamorphosis. Eggs (as many as 500 by one female) are deposited on the surface of fermenting organic material. Larvae can begin to emerge in as little as 30 hours later. Fruit fly larvae are small, legless white maggots that are pointed at one end. The larvae will feed for 5 to 6 days and then will crawl to a dry area to pupate, with the adult emerging a few days later. The entire life cycle can take as little as eight days under ideal conditions.

Biology and Behavior

tiny fly with big red eyes

  • Fruit flies are primarily attracted to fresh and fermenting fruits and vegetables and other rotting, fermenting organic materials.

  • Because the adult frequents unsanitary conditions, fruit flies are a significant health concern as they can transfer disease-causing bacteria to food.

  • Small fruit fly larvae ingested from infested fruit can cause intestinal discomfort and diarrhea by intestinal myiasis.

  • One rotting piece of fruit can produce hundreds of flies so all that is needed is one damaged apple in a box, one overripe banana at the bottom of a fruit bowl or one onion dropped and forgotten under a cabinet to cause an 'explosion'.

  • Recycle bins and trash receptacles, soda fountain drains, refrigerator condensate pans, non-skid floor mats, garbage disposals and sometimes floor drains are common sites in commercial kitchens.

Fruit Fly Prevention Tips

  • Eliminating the breeding sites through sanitation and moisture control are the only methods for long-standing control.

  • Applications of bioenzyme-based cleaning agents and growth regulators are beneficial in eliminating organic material in unseen microenvironments.

  • Use lids and liners on trash receptacles to keep out foraging flies and aid in cleaning. Empty daily.

  • Do not stop searching when one source of infestation is found. There are often more.

  • Insect light traps, fruit fly traps and contact fogging applications will only eliminate exposed adults, which are only a symptom and will soon be replaced by other developing flies.

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