Caribbean Fruit Flies

The Caribbean fruit fly is also known as the Great Antillean fruit fly, the caribfly and the guava fruit fly. This fruit fly species is related to the Mexican fruit fly and is indigenous to the West Indies. The caribfly was introduced to the United States via Florida. Caribflies damage tropical and subtropical fruits such as peaches, guava, citrus, papaya, Surinam cherries and loquat. In order to prevent the spread of the Caribbean fruit fly, there are now regulations for shipping fruits to other countries and regions of the United States.

close up of fruit fly feeding

The life cycle of the caribfly spans approximately 21 days and begins when a female lays her eggs singly within mature and overripe fruit. Larvae emerge within two to three days and feed for 10 to 14 days upon the fruit within which they developed. The feeding and development of maggots typically causes host fruit to drop prematurely from the tree. Larvae then burrow into the soil in order to pupate. Within 10 to 11 days, adult Caribbean fruit flies emerge and begin mating almost immediately. Several generations of the pest can arise in a single year.

As adults, they are approximately twice the size of the common housefly. Their bodies are yellow-orange, red or brown in color and have no stripes or other markings. Their long wings are dark at the tips and colorless in one small area toward the center. They are exclusively an agricultural pest and would not be an indoor household pest problem. They should not be confused with the fruit flies in the family Drosophilidae which attack damaged or overripe fruit and can be an indoor pest.