Fruit Flies

Scientific Name: Drosophilidae

The Drosophila melanogaster, also known as the “common fruit fly” or “vinegar fly” is a species of fly in the Drosophilidae family. The primarily eat ripened fruit, vegetables, fermenting food products. Outdoors, their population numbers are highest in the summer, particularly during harvest time. However, fruit flies can be active all year in indoor environments.

Drosophila melanogaster top aka
View from above
"Drosophila melanogaster - top (aka)" by André Karwath aka Aka - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons.

Identifying Fruit Flies

Flies in the Drosophila family are small in size at 2.5-3.5 mm. Their bodies are pale yellow to reddish brown to black in color with red eyes.

Types of Fruit Flies

  • Mexican Fruit Flies
  • Citrus Fruit Flies
  • Olive Fruit Flies
  • Caribbean Fruit Flies
  • Mediterranean Fruit Flies
  • Western Cherry Fruit Flies

Facts

  • Fruit flies are attracted to bananas, potatoes, onions, and other unrefrigerated produce.
  • They will breed inside drains, garbage disposals, trash cans, and mops.

Fruit Fly Prevention and Control

Eliminating the sources of attraction is the best way to prevent fruit flies. Any ripe produce left on the counter should be eaten, thrown away or put in the refrigerator. Fruit flies will lay eggs in rotten fruits or vegetables so discard any food that appears to be damaged or cracked. Because fruit flies are attracted to sugary, organic materials it is hard to get rid of them in your home.

If you discover that you have an infestation, remove their feeding and breeding grounds from inside your home. Any over-ripe or damaged fruit should be thrown away. If you have purchased any new fruits or vegetables, store them in the refrigerator until the fruit flies disappear.

If you have fruit flies in your drain, there are bacterial digesters available that can be used to remove the infestation. Bleach can also be used but is not always effective. Fruit fly traps can also provide some temporary relief for infestations.

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