One of the most enduring myths in pest control is that fruit somehow spawns fruit flies. As in, fruit flies materialize out of fruit… and that’s the reason they seem to come out of nowhere. And even though most folks realize that’s not the case, the myth persists.
We get it! Fruit flies really do seem to come out of nowhere. One second, you’re fruit-fly-free, the next second they seem to have taken over. If you want to get rid of fruit flies once and for all, you’ll have to get this myth out of your head.
The first step to getting rid of and preventing fruit flies is learning what fruit flies actually are, where they come from, and why they’re in your house. We’re here to help! We’ve compiled what you need to know about fruit flies in order to keep them out of your home.
What are Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies (AKA vinegar or wine flies) are flies belonging to the Drosophila genus and the Drosophilidae family. Fruit flies are generally quite small (1/10 to ⅛ inches long) and brown, tan, or yellow, with bright red eyes.
Though there are over 1500 species of small fruit flies, the common name “fruit fly” has become largely synonymous with Drosophila melanogaster (the “common fruit fly”). The “common fruit fly” is yellow, brown, or tan with red eyes and translucent, bright wings.
Adult fruit flies have relatively long antennae that may appear hairy. Fruit fly larvae look like maggots: they are cream-colored, 1/10 inch-long, thin, and spindle-shaped. Adult flies lay eggs in any fermenting liquid, especially vegetable or fruit matter. Fruit flies practice inbreeding and reproduce indoors rapidly—which is why fruit fly infestations can get out of hand very quickly.
Why are Fruit Flies in My House?
Fruit fly larvae feed on the yeast that grows on fermenting, liquefying items. Contrary to their name, fruit flies will infest any rotting material (not just fruit). They’ll find any source of moisture or decaying material, including sponges, mops, or even puddles of water. This type of material is where adult fruit flies lay eggs.
Kitchen sink drains commonly foster fruit fly infestations. Basically, if there’s any rotting material in your home, fruit flies will find it and then use it. They’re particularly attracted to garbage, compost, drains, and anywhere else they can find rotting food. If you leave fruit out until it ripens, it’ll attract all kinds of fruit flies.
A few other spaces that fruit flies are drawn to include:
- Garbage Cans
- Any area with a plumbing leak
Okay… But Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?
Fruit flies can end up on your food and in your house a couple different ways, including:
- They were already on your food when you brought it home. Fruit fly eggs are extremely tiny and adults often lay them inside fruits and vegetables. It’s possible some of your food had fruit fly eggs inside it.
- They “smelled” their way into your home. Even if fruit flies aren’t already inside your food when you bring it home, they can find their way in. Their highly-focused and acute sense of smell enables them to follow even the faintest scent of fermentation. If you keep any amount of fruit out, fruit flies can smell it and want a piece of it!
- They “squeezed” their way into your home. Fruit flies are so tiny that they have no problem squeezing through the tiniest of wall or door cracks. Once inside, they’ll start reproducing and laying eggs immediately.
How Do I Get Rid of Fruit Flies?
You can try eliminating fruit flies in your home by attracting them with a homemade fly trap—you can make one of these out of a jar and some vinegar. Here’s how:
- Start by pouring some vinegar into a jar
- Place a plastic bag over the jar and cut a small hole in it
- Push the baggie down into the jar so it creates a funnel
- Use a rubber band to secure the bag
The vinegar will attract flies, and then you can take the fruit flies out!
How Do I Keep Fruit Flies Out?
A few great ways to prevent fruit flies (and other pests) is to:
- Clean out your garbage and rinse the bin and boxes
- Make sure you don’t leave behind any food residue on dining or food prep surfaces
- Clean your pantry and cabinets thoroughly
- Rinse out or throw out your sponges or other dishwashing equipment
- Keep an eye out for plumbing leaks (and fix them ASAP)
The more you can control moisture and fermentation accumulation, the better. Fruit flies are one of the most enduring pests people contend with all year. They’ll take whatever you give them, and they’ll thrive on very little. If you want to wipe out your fruit flies, you’ll have to give them nothing.
The Best Way to Keep Fruit Flies Out of Your Home: Plunkett’s Pest Control
Hopefully, we’ve shown you how to prevent fruit flies! However, if you ever decide you need a little help wiping out some particularly pesky flies (or other pests), give Plunkett’s a call any time. Whether you have a minor infestation or a full-blown invasion, we’ll wipe it out and keep it out. Every time!