Eyes are red, the thorax is tan, and abdomen is black on top and gray underneath.
Fruit flies are especially attracted to ripened fruits, dirty garbage containers, rotten vegetables, slime in drains in kitchen. They also will breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash containers, mops and cleaning rags. All that is needed for development is a moist film of fermenting material. Infestations can originate from over-ripened fruits or vegetables that were previously infested and brought into the home. The adults can also fly in from outside through inadequately screened windows and doors.
Fruit flies are common in homes, restaurants, supermarkets and wherever else food is allowed to rot and ferment. Adult flies are strong fliers. They have been known to travel as far as 6-1/2 miles within 24-hour period. Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of fermenting foods or other moist, organic materials. Upon emerging, the tiny larvae continue to feed near the surface of the fermenting mass. This surface-feeding characteristic of the larvae is significant in that damaged or over-ripened portions of fruits and vegetables can be cut away without having to discard the remainder for fear of retaining any developing larvae. The reproductive potential of fruit flies is enormous; given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs. The entire lifecycle from egg to adult can be completed in about a week.
Tomatoes, melons, squash, grapes and other perishable items brought in from the garden are often the cause of an infestation developing indoors. Fruit flies are also attracted to rotting bananas, potatoes, onions and other unrefrigerated produce purchased at the grocery store.
Fruit Fly Prevention Tips
- Clean thoroughly and frequently floor areas under food preparation surfaces, fixtures, and equipment. Use a brush to clean and flush floor drains and debris traps weekly. Eliminate standing water. Repair leaking plumbing or beverage lines.
- Hang up mops and brooms to dry after each use.
- Have soiled linens removed and cleaned at least twice a week.
- Move dumpsters and trash containers as far away from entrances as possible.
- Thoroughly wash containers destined for recycling before placement in a bin and have the bins emptied and cleaned at least twice a week.
- Discard residential organic waste in tightly sealed plastic bags or compost it. When composting, the waste material should be turned daily or at least every other day the first week to significantly reduce fly breeding. Wash or launder mop heads weekly.
- Seal cracks and crevices where food particles can accumulate with inappropriate material.
- Clean accessible floor drains of organic scum using an electric drill fitted with a 12-inch extender and a 3-inch diameter wire-sanding wheel. This setup is aided by running tap water into the drain during and following the procedure to flush away debris.
- Install air doors/curtains at exterior entrances.
- Place flying insect jar traps (commercially available) baited with fruit juice, vinegar, or beer in strategic locations.
- Replace window or door screening with a fine mesh to deny small fruit fly entrance since they often can penetrate ordinary screening. While a minimum size of 20mesh is required to keep out small fruit flies, 32-mesh screening will also keep out most other flies.
- Use carefully placed insect light traps to attract and remove small fruit flies.
- To eliminate adults, use a vacuum cleaners an economical, practical, non-chemical alternative to ULV treatments. It’s not practical under high ceilings, but works very well for restaurant staff to perform morning “clean-ups” until the problem is located and eliminated. To keep small fruit flies from salad bars, use a fan that blows across the salad bar.
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