- Latin Name: Drosophila melanogaster
- Size: 1/8”
- Color: Fruit flies have a tan or brown body and red eyes.
- Shape: Oval, wings
- Found in: All over the United States
- Overview: Fruit flies were named because they eat ripened fruits.
Origin: The origin of fruit flies is unknown. They are found all over the world.
Climate: Fruit flies live in many different climates, but in cooler climates they stay indoors. They thrive outdoors in tropical environments. Farmers have problems with fruit flies during the harvest seasons.
Favorite Foods: Ripe fruit is the favorite of fruit flies. They will also eat vegetables, spilled soda, fermenting liquids or decaying matter. You will find fruit flies in kitchens, restaurants and the trash looking for a meal.
Family: Fruit flies are typically found in large groups because they reproduce so quickly. Like other flies, the fruit fly goes through four stages of life, egg, larvae, pupal and adult. All four stages can be completed in about a week. Fruit flies lay eggs in the fermenting fruit they are feasting on. They can lay up to 500 eggs during their short lifetime. The eggs will hatch within hours and then the larvae will feast on the ripened fruit. The larvae will develop over three to four days before pupation. After four days in their case, they will emerge as adults ready to mate.
Unique Facts: The fruit fly only has four or five chromosomes depending on the species and reproduces quickly making it a great insect for scientific research. People used to believe that fruit flies were a product of spontaneous generation, but this is a myth.
Signs of a problem: Any over ripe fruit or vegetables sitting on the counter can attract fruit flies. Once the fruit flies are inside, they reproduce rapidly and will live in garbage disposals, drains, mops, sponges or trashcans once the spoiled fruit is discarded. It is common to take fruit flies home with you from the grocery store.
Do they attack humans? No, fruit flies may come after your cocktail, but they are not interested in humans. They may also spread bacteria on your food, so be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables prior to eating. Some people may experience skin irritation when a fruit fly lands on them, but fruit flies do not have teeth and are unable to bite.
Stopping an infestation: Remove the kitchen trash frequently and keep all counter tops clean. Don’t forget about a bag of potatoes in the back of the pantry. Eat, refrigerate or throw away over ripe fruits and vegetables. Cut away any damaged pieces of the fruit and wash prior to eating in case there are eggs in the fruit. One way to trap fruit flies is by putting a paper funnel at the top of a glass container. Put a few drops of beer, wine or cider vinegar in the bottom of the glass container and see how many flies you have captured the next morning. Call a pest control professional if the number of fruit flies you have captured is problematic.