Fruit Flies

What do fruit flies look like?

  • Fruit flies range in color from dull-yellow-brown to dark brown toward black.  Yellowish fruit flies tend to have red eyes and dark brown-black fruit flies have dark eyes.  
  • Size: adults – 1/8 inch long while larvae (maggots) – 1/10 to 1/5 inch long.

What are the habits of fruit flies?

  • Red-eyed fruit flies seek out suitable organic matter sources and eggs are laid onto the surface of decomposing or fermenting fruit or vegetables. 
  • Dark-eyed fruit flies typically prefer “end-stage” organic matter and grime that is moisture-rich and where yeast is abundant.  Areas such as broken grout where food-stuffs build-up and are difficult to clean, drains and commercial washbasins.  
  • Females produce up to 500 eggs during their lifetime.
  • Undergoing complete metamorphosis, larvae complete development within five to six days and crawl to drier areas to pupate.
  • Developmental time from adult to adult: eight to ten days and adult flies are attracted to light.

What kind of damage is caused by fruit flies?

  • Can contaminate food with microorganisms.
  • Uncontrolled infestations can cause economic damage to restaurants, bars and commercial hospitality establishments as a result of health inspections that may result in closures if/when abundant populations are observed.  

What should I look for when identifying fruit flies?  

  • Look for over-ripe fruits or other foods—such as potatoes, onions and fermenting liquid in the bottom of garbage cans, dirty recycling materials, clogged garbage disposal, dirty mop, etc… 
  • Look for mops that are not hung to dry, moisture-rich environments such as dishwashing or composting rooms of commercial food establishments.

How do I control and kill fruit flies?

  • The key to controlling and killing fruit flies begins with proper identification.  Thus, identify the species you are dealing with and then, you can locate and eliminate the “source” or breeding material. 
  • Long-term, complete and thorough sanitation is necessary to eliminate the source of the infestation—pouring hot water, bleach or other cleaning agents onto decomposing organic matter will not resolve the problem or eliminate the source.  
  • Insect light traps are minimally effective for fruit flies. 
  • Baited vinegar traps fitted with tops that permit fly entry and prevent escape are effective in reducing the population of adult flies but are no substitute for sanitation.
  • Biozyme enzymatic cleaners can be applied to identified decomposing organic matter sites to aid in the breakdown of organic matter (scrubbing or brushing required for best results).
  • To eliminate small numbers of adult flies, a vacuum cleaner or an aerosol insecticide should be used.

Identifying the source of a fruit fly problem often requires expertise and experience from a professional pest control operator.  If you need assistance with this process or eliminating pesky flies from your home, contact us at Innotech Pest Management and schedule an appointment today!