Fruit flies

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  • Colour Tan/yellow to light brown
  • Size From 2.5 mm to 4 mm long
  • Also known as Vinegar flies, Wine flies, Pomace flies.
  • Description Have bright red eyes and antennae made up of three segments, with the last segment resembling a feathery bristle.
  • Notes Their worm-like larvae are cream coloured or white, with no legs or eyes, just a hook-like mouthpiece for feeding.

How to identify Fruit flies?

  • Coloured tan/yellow to light brown, with bright red eyes
  • Approximately 2.5 to 4 millimeters
  • Three segments in the antennae, third segment appears to be a feathery bristle

What are signs of a fruit fly infestation

The most visible sign of fruit fly infestation is the presence of the adults. Usually seen swarming around fruits and vegetables left out on kitchen or commercial countertops or in and around refuse bins and other receptacles in which foods are disposed, fruit flies congregate en masse and feed on the decaying materials until any food source is gone. Fruit flies typically remain in areas with suitable food sources. Diners, bars, cafes, and restaurants often need to take special precautions to limit fruit fly infestations. Stowing raw, whole foods in refrigerated or vacuum-sealed units also helps to prevent fruit fly infestations.

How to prevent fruit flies

These tips may help you prevent fruit flies in your home:

  • Reduce the presence of ripe fruits and vegetables; place them in a refrigerator or a paper bag
  • Ensure recycling bottles, cans, and garbage bins have lids and are tightly closed.
  • Clean up and spills and inspect the environment for potential breeding areas; dirty sponges and washcloths, drains, broken tiles, and standing water
  • Eliminate moist decaying/fermenting organic matter inside such as sink and floor drains
  • Rinse vegetable and beverage cans prior to disposal
  • Use of fine screen mesh on windows will help prevent them from coming indoors
  • Use of fruit fly traps can help in control without the need to use insecticide.
  • Rinse and dry out mop head and bucket after use immediately

Learn more about how you can prevent fruit flies

How long do fruit flies live?

Fruit flies are known for their rapid reproduction and relatively short lifespans. The average lifespan of a fruit fly is about 40 to 50 days. The fruit fly life cycle is made up of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Most of the fly’s life is spent as an adult, with development usually taking less than two weeks. Developmental time and overall lifespan is largely influenced by environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. High temperatures quicken development and may extend lifespans, whereas cooler temperatures may prolongs larval and pupal development and kill off adults.

The fruit fly life cycle begins when a female fruit fly lays a batch of eggs, which usually consists of around 500 eggs. Under the right conditions, a fruit fly egg only takes about a day to hatch. The newly hatched larvae then develop through three instars stages, with the entire process lasting about five days. A larva then encloses itself in a hard case for the pupal stage, which takes about five days. After emerging from the pupal case, the fruit fly reaches adulthood. Females may begin procreating within two days.

Where do fruit flies come from?

Fruit flies are found all around the world and almost everywhere one can find exposed food. Restaurants, hotels, cafeterias, farmer’s markets, trash receptacles, recycling areas, dumpsters, beverage stations, and janitorial closets are some of their favourite areas.

For many years, fruit flies were thought to spontaneously generate on ripe and rotting produce, but that myth has been disproven. In most cases, fruit flies have either found their way inside the home by following the odours of ripe fruit or have been transported there along with the produce. This not only underlines the importance of washing the fruits and vegetables that are brought into the home, but also means that you should not keep excess quantities of produce exposed.

Commonly Asked Questions

Why do I have fruit flies?

Fruit flies, also known as vinegar flies, wine flies, and pomace flies, feed on the yeast and fungi that cause the fermentation of overripe, rotting fruit, vegetables, and organic matter.

As a result, they are attracted to any where there is exposed food, including home kitchens, food processing facilities, restaurants, hotels, cafeterias, farmer’s markets, trash receptacles, recycling areas, dumpsters, beverage stations, and janitorial closets.

Contrary to popular belief, fruit flies do not spontaneously grow out of rotting fruit, but find their way inside the building either by following the odours of ripe fruit or hitching a ride on the purchased produce.

Female fruit flies then lay eggs inside fruit with damaged skin or in other moist, fermenting organic matter. The emerging larvae then have an immediate food source.

Should I be worried about fruit flies?

Fruit flies cannot bite or chew, so in order to eat, a fruit fly will repeatedly eject its own saliva on to food and then suck up the resulting mixture. This is an extremely unhygienic process, leaving behind bacteria and organisms that were once inside the fly.

Fruit flies can also carry and transmit disease-causing germs. When fruit infested with fruit fly larvae is consumed accidentally, it can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea.

Fruit fly larvae also pose massive problems in Canadian orchards and farms, as the pests have the potential to ruin large amounts of fruit in a short time, due to their quick development and ability to reproduce rapidly.

Female fruit flies lay approximately 400 eggs, about five at a time. The eggs hatch into larvae after only 12 hours. The larvae then grow for about four days, before pupating for about five days, to emerge as an adult fruit fly. The females begin breeding after only two days.

Unfortunately, most DIY methods, like vinegar traps and fly strips, have minimal results, are unsightly, and do little more than kill a small segment of a fruit fly population. To truly end a fruit fly infestation you need a good sanitation program and professional pest control services.

Do fruit flies bite humans?

No, fruit flies do not bite people. They lack the piercing and sucking mouth parts of typical blood feeding flies. While considered a general annoyance in homes and other institutions, fruit flies can be significant pests in food processing and handling structures. Because of their habits of visiting unsanitary sites, they have the potential to carry disease causing germs. When fruits infested with fruit fly larvae are ingested accidentally, it may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea.

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