Fruit flies are small about 1/8-inch in length including the wings.
- A key identifying character is its bright red eyes.
- The Fruit fly is about one third the size of the house or filth fly.
- Body color is usually a light yellow to tan color.
Biology and Habits:
- The fruit flies comprise several different species belonging to the genus Drosophila. The most common species encountered in homes and other structures is D.melanogaster. Fruit flies are also identified as pomace flies or vinegar flies. These pests can be found throughout the world, in homes, food processing plants, warehouses, grocery stores, wineries, restaurants and other structures.
- Populations tend to be greatest in late summer and early fall as they infest fruits during the harvest season.
- Fruit flies are among the smallest flies found in homes.
- With the end of the summer season, many homeowners often encounter fruit flies in and about their kitchens and near garbage storage areas.
- They are generally found hovering around decaying vegetation and overripe fruit.
- Fruit flies most often are found hovering around overly ripe fruit.
Fermenting materials, such as leftover beer or soft drinks, also are a favorite food of these flies.
- These pesky insects are often found in the kitchen, especially when vegetable or fruit materials are present after major home canning efforts.
- Occasionally, pomace flies, similar in appearance to fruit flies, may infest the home. The source of a pomace fly problem is often standing water like a forgotten mop pail or an open sewer drain.
- Because it frequents such unsanitary areas, it could potentially carry disease-causing bacteria onto food products.
- Like all flies, fruit flies develop by complete metamorphosis.
Eggs are laid near or on top of attractants (fermenting materials) such as beverages, decaying fruit and vegetable matter, garbage or slime in drains.
They are attracted to any area where moisture has accumulated including mops and wet rags. The larvae emerge from the eggs and feed near the surface of the fermenting material for 5-6 days.
- This surface-feeding characteristic of the larvae is significant in that damaged or over-ripened portions of fruits and vegetables can be cut away without having to discard the remainder for fear of retaining any developing larvae.
- However eating the larvae can cause intestinal discomfort and diarrhea.
For this reason, health professionals and sanitarians are concerned when these flies are found infesting facilities where food is prepared, processed, or served.
- Newly-emerged adults are attracted to lights, but egg laying females will not leave fermenting materials. The larvae then crawl to drier areas of the food source or even out of the food source to pupate. Under ideal conditions, the life cycle from egg to adult can be completed in as little as eight days.
- Life cycle from egg to adult is approximately 10 days.
Recommended Control Measures:
Exclusion and Sanitation, Insecticides, Traps, and Aerosols
- Sanitation is the first measure of defense, even though there are various traps and sprays that are used to kill flies, it is necessary to eliminate the source in order to eliminate them.
- The key to controlling these infestations is to locate and eliminate their breeding sources.
Whenever possible, food and materials on which the flies can lay their eggs must be removed, destroyed, as a breeding medium, or isolated from the egg-laying adult.
Killing adult flies will reduce infestation, but elimination of breeding areas is necessary for good management.
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