Fruit flies are easily identified by their small size and distinguishing feature of bright red eyes. The body of a fruit fly is usually a shade of light yellow darkening to tan. They are about one third of the size of a common house fly.
Fruit flies are extremely common, especially in warmer months when fruit is in season.
Though fruit flies do not bite or sting, they do carry bacteria from feeding on rotting food and they can transmit that through anything they land on.
Inspect Fruit Fly Sources
The first place to look for fruit fly sources is vegetables and fruits stored at room temperature.
Other places include garbage cans, recycling bins and beneath appliances.
Fruit fly larva need moisture and decaying organic matter. For example, spilled juice out of plastic bottles being recycled could lead to a consistently moist environment at the bottom of a recycle bin. Juice spilled under a refrigerator could create a similar environment.
Although eliminating adult fruit flies will definitely reduce the infestations, the only way to consistently keep an area free of them is to eliminate the breeding grounds.
Exclude and Sanitize
When fruit flies begin to proliferate in a home, the first thing that should be done is to sanitize and exclude.
- Clean out garbage cans and dumpsters and make sure they have tight lids.
- Ripened fruit should be eaten, disposed of or refrigerated.
- Any extra moisture should be eliminated and drainage improved, if possible.
- Building openings should be protected by screens.
- Water leakage in the walls of bathrooms and kitchens can be solved by re-grouting the tile.
- Use natural cleaners in areas with grease buildup.
Controlling Fruit Flies
Killing adult fruit flies is the first step towards reducing the infestation. Use fruit fly traps to attract adult flies, or use sprays with peppermint oil, which will kill adult flies on contact.
Another unique way to deal with fruit flies is to obtain Venus Flytrap plants. Keep the plants moist and they will attract the flies and consume them.
It’s also possible to make homemade fruit fly traps with wine or fruit. Wine tends to work better as fruit flies are attracted to fermenting fruit, not fresh fruit.
Put wine in a jar and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Make a few very small holes with a toothpick. This allows the flies to get in, but generally not out, as they eventually drown in the wine.
Other Fruit Fly Tips
Fruit flies are naturally attracted to decaying food, but primarily fruit and vegetables.
They are just as likely to gather around an old glass of juice, soda or alcohol as they are fruit left out on the counter to rot.
Fruit fly larva only feed on the surface of food, so any infected pieces can be cut off.
New fruit fly adults are often attracted to lights, but breeding females do not go far from fermented matter.
A fruit fly life cycle from egg stage to adult is about 10 days, which is why an infestation can multiply quickly.