Fruit Flies

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Family Drosophilidae

Appearance

What do they look like?
fruit fly picture

  • Size: Drosophila melanogaster is a species of small fly. Adults are 3 to 4 mm long.
  • Eyes: May have red eyes, though some are dark eyed
  • Body: Tan thorax. The abdomen is black on top, gray underneath.
  • Color: Fruit flies can appear to be brown or tan in color.

How Did I Get Fruit Flies?

Fruit flies often infest homes with ripe, rotting, or decayed fruit and produce. They also enjoy fermented items such as beer, liquor, and wine. Fruit flies also may breed and develop in drains, garbage disposals, trash cans, and mop buckets. Once they begin reproducing indoors, females are able to lay about 500 eggs and the eggs will hatch in as little as 24-30 hours after being deposited by the female. This makes the pests difficult to control.

How Serious Are Fruit Flies?

Aside from being a nuisance, fruit flies they have the potential to contaminate food with bacteria and other pathogens. To avoid a fruit fly infestation, store produce in air-tight containers or refrigerators and inspect any fruits or vegetables brought into the home. Also, establish a schedule to regularly clean drain lines, garbage disposals and any location where food waste accumulates.

How Do You Get Rid of Fruit Flies?

What Orkin Does
The Orkin Man™ is trained to help manage fruit flies. Since every home is different, the Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Keeping fruit flies out of your home is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive A.I.M. solution is a continuing cycle of three critical steps—Assess, Implement and Monitor.

The Orkin Man™ can provide the right solution to keep fruit flies in their place…out of your home.

For more information or to schedule an inspection, please contact your local Orkin branch office.

Signs of a Fruit Fly Infestation

The two most visible signs of fruit fly activity would be the adult flies and the pupae.  

Adult flies often are seen flying around in kitchens or trash cans near the decaying fruit or vegetables. They also are attracted to liquor and liquor/beer bottles.

The mature larvae of fruit flies crawl out of the breeding material to pupate in a dry nearby spot. They sometimes are mistaken for cockroach or rodent droppings but can easily be differentiated by a pair of horns on one end of the pupae.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

What do they eat?
Fruit flies eat ripened fruit and vegetables and fermenting products. Ream more about fruit flies in food.

Activity
Populations tend to build during the summer, becoming very abundant at harvest time. Indoors, fruit flies are frequently active at all times of the year.

Reproduction & Life Cycle

The common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is known for its ability to reproduce rapidly. Larvae of fruit flies develop in moist areas where organic material and standing water are present. The entire life cycle lasts 25 days or more depending on the environmental conditions and the availability of food.

Like other fly species, fruit flies experience a four-stage life cycle: beginning as eggs, they undergo larval and pupal stages before emerging as adults. The early life stages span approximately a few days and fruit flies can complete their development in as little as week in ideal temperature conditions. Adult fruit flies can live up to 30 days.

Fruit Fly Close Up Picture
Fruit Fly Close-up

Fruit Fly Prevention Tips

It is extremely difficult to rid a home of the common fruit fly. Fruit flies are attracted to sugary, organic materials. As their name suggests, they are commonly found infesting fruit. However, fruit flies are also capable of breeding in decaying meat, trash bins and large spills of soda or alcohol. Any fruit brought home following that should be stored in the refrigerator if appropriate.

Regularly wipe counters, clean spills and empty your trash cans to help prevent fruit fly infestations.

The first step in addressing a fruit fly infestation is the destruction of their feeding and breeding grounds. Fruit flies often lay their eggs in rotten fruit and other soft, sweet, organic materials. If you identify a fruit fly infestation in your kitchen, dispose of all over-ripe or damaged fruit. Any subsequently purchased fruit or vegetables should be kept in the refrigerator until the fruit fly infestation dissipates.

If there is no fruit or vegetable matter in your kitchen, check your garbage and recycling bins. Fruit flies may also use unclean drains as breeding grounds. Outdoor drains are likely sources of yard-based fruit flies, as are overripe fruits beneath the trees from which they have fallen.

After isolating the fly breeding ground, control methods may be utilized. Although eradication may require several treatments, the lack of food available to fly populations will eventually cause them to die out.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Home

Bacterial digesters are available to pour down infested drains. Bleach can sometimes be effective; although it is rarely stays in the drain long enough to address the accumulated slime that attracts fruit flies. While not effective at eliminating an infestation, fruit fly traps may provide temporary relief by trapping some of the adults.

Types of Fruit Flies

More Fruit Fly Information