What are Fruit Flies?
The term fruit fly may refer to any number of several different organisms, including the olive fruit fly, Queensland fruit fly, melon fly, common fruit fly, and Asian fruit fly. While the first three are large and colorfully marked, the latter two on the list are generally smaller. Fruit flies not only eat rotting food, but they use it to lay their eggs, laying as many as 500 at a time. In addition, fruit flies have a lifespan of only 40 to 50 days. These pests may be found in homes near spoiling food or inside of drains, as well as outside near garbage areas or compost piles, and near any outside drains if they are present.
Frequented Areas of Fruit Flies
Though the native habitat of fruit flies is a tropical climate, this pest has been introduced to almost every climate and region of the world. More specifically, fruit flies may be found in grocery stores, homes, restaurants, and any other place that food may be spoiling or rotting. An infestation may be more noticeable in the summer months because the heat compounds the speed of rotting, as well as the odor that is produced.
Identification and Physical Characteristics
Being a small fly, adults may only reach 3 to 4 mm in length. They are known to have red eyes or dark eyes with a tan colored thorax. The abdomen of fruit flies is black on top and gray underneath, and sometimes fruit flies may appear to be brown or tan in color.
Special Characteristics of Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are especially attracted to beer and wine. This is because they are attracted to fermenting products. Fruit flies also share 75% of the genes that cause disease, and their short lifespan lets scientists examine mutations and changes that may happen between their birth and death. Having only four pairs of chromosomes, there are three autosomal pairs and one pair determines the sex. The common fruit fly is best-known for its rapid reproduction.
Fruit flies do not feed on blood, and they do not have mouthparts that are capable of biting humans. Even if an infestation reaches numbers in the thousands, fruit flies are not a direct threat to biting people.
Removal and Preventative Procedures of Fruit Flies
To prevent an infestation of fruit flies, it is best to make sure that there are no rotting foods in or around a house or garbage can. If there must be old food in a garbage can, it would be beneficial for the lid to be a very tight fit to prevent the flies from entering and reproducing.
If there is a fruit bowl in the home that has some items going bad, the items need to be disposed of so that they do not attract the fruit flies. Placing the fruits or vegetables in the refrigerator will not only keep the items safe, it will prolong the life of the item just a bit.
It is notably difficult to get rid of fruit flies once they have invaded a home, as they are attracted to sugary and organic materials. Homeowners should take special care to regularly wipe down their counters and clean up spills as soon as they happen. Fruit fly infestations can be prevented by emptying trash bins regularly, as well. Recycling bins also need to be checked and cleaned intermittently.
If an infestation seems to be coming from a sink or garbage disposal, it is possible to use a bacterial digester in the drain to take care of any rotting material that may be stuck in the drain and contributing to the infestation. If a bacterial digester is not available, bleach down the sink drain may also be used in a pinch, though it does not usually stay in the drain for a long enough period of time. Individuals should also check mop water and even the mops themselves, as they may be a source that can be overlooked.
Terro Fruit Fly Traps may be purchased at a store to capture and kill fruit flies. These use a non-toxic food-based liquid that lures the flies inside the trap. Once inside, they cannot escape. These traps last up to 30 days, and within just a few days of using the trap, it is said that there will no longer be a fruit fly infestation.