Here’s a varmint everyone knows about: the fruit fly! These need no introduction. They’re annoying, they love fruit as much as we do (the more fragrant the better!), and unfortunately they are here to stay. Sometimes, it’s a wonder how they even get into the house in the first place where there’s no fruit to be found!
We know a lot of people who are their #1 ‘fan’, i.e. they have a tough time getting rid of them. To do that, we need to understand more about them. Here’s everything we know about fruit flies.
The fruit fly, a.k.a. the Drosophila melanogaster (rolls right off of the tongue, doesn’t it?) is one of the insect kingdom’s hardiest flies given their tiny size. This makes them so hard to squish or shoo away in your home or at a restaurant. (PS: simply saying “Shoo fly, don’t bother me,” has never worked, so why should it for these guys?)
The fruit fly’s favourite foods, aside from any rotting or overripe produce, are tomatoes, onions, and bananas. They also love to nibble from containers that are exposed and contain strong-smelling residue from food, as well as any unrefrigerated foods. Basically, the kitchen is their slice of heaven, which means they’re more likely to be a nuisance in places such as restaurants, cafeterias, and your own home.
The life cycle of a fruit fly is very short in real life, however they breed often enough to become a huge problem! A female fruit fly will lay approximately 500 eggs in her lifetime (here we were thinking Queen bees were the only busy ones!). These eggs will hatch after 10 to 12 days. They’re extra annoying because they seem to appear from out of nowhere!
Did you know that fruit flies have helped in making medical breakthroughs? Interestingly, their DNA codes resemble barcodes (yet another idea how they sneak out of the grocery store so easily!). They’re basically the superstars of genetic research. Scientists have been able to learn more about genetic evolution from fruit flies in 30 years, whereas it would have taken 200 years using mice. Thanks, Thomas Hunt Morgan (he was the scientist to first use fruit flies and confirm Boveri and Sutton’s chromosomal theory of inheritance).
This also means though that while fruit flies have similar genes to humans, it also means they can carry similar diseases. So, long story short, they’re great in the lab, but they make the worst chefs.
How Did They Get in My House?
You know that overflowing compost bucket under your sink? Or that ripe-smelling piece of fruit you brought in from the grocery store? Those are a few reasons how fruit flies got into your house. What’s really ‘appetizing’ is that not only are fruits and vegetables their idea of a meal plan, but also they love going after your open glass of wine or beer bottle (those drinks are made of fermented fruits and veggies, after all!). That means these are the most idyllic places you can expect to find these little varmints:
- Trash and compost bins
- Empty beer and wine bottles
- Fruits baskets and bowls
- Storage cupboards and shelves
- Mops and mop buckets
The slimier all of the aforementioned sources are, the better.
Can’t I Just Set a Trap to Kill Them?
We know about all of the recipes online for fruit fly traps. The apple cider vinegar with dishwashing soap is a classic example…which is only good for catching five or ten of those flies. The thing about smells is, they fade over time. You could be wasting perfectly good ACV and soap if your fruit fly infestation is in the hundreds! If that’s the case, save up the ACV for your next salad dressing and the soap for your next load of dishes to wash.
Making a fruit fly trap can be a decent short-term solution for one or two flies, but as you’ve already read, it only takes two to create hundreds of them! You can’t exactly set a trap up for fruit fly eggs, either.
Is There Anything I CAN Do?
Yes! For one thing, if you have any standing fruit or decomposing food, get rid of it right now! Take it out of the house and dispose of it in the proper bins. If these bins look grody on the inside, wash them out with hot water and soap. Cover any and all food and open glasses if there are fruit flies around; the less encouragement you give them, the less inclined (or perhaps more tempted?) they will be to harrass you. You also need to make sure your mops and buckets also get a cleaning treatment. Always wring out your mops thoroughly and wipe down the buckets after each use.
These make for great short-term solutions, and if they help and no fruit flies appear after a while, great! Unfortunately, most areas you’d think get cleaned out sooner don’t, and before you know it, the circle of a fruit fly’s life repeats itself. The only real way to get rid of a fruit fly problem if they’re numbering in the hundreds, or if your restaurant needs assistance with them (and you don’t want the traps to be noticed) is to contact your local Pest Boss. Once the fruit fly treatment has been applied, feel free to kick back and celebrate with a glass of wine or crack open a cold one. You can rest easy knowing that fruit flies won’t be getting busy in your personal space any time soon!
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Pest Boss and a clickable link back to this page.