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Pest Spotlight: Fruit Flies

Pest Spotlight: Fruit Flies

Our last blog post discussed how these nuisance flies may breed in your rotting pumpkin. Let’s learn more about their biology and management. 

What are fruit flies?

The term “fruit fly” is used to describe several species of flies that breed in decaying fruit. The most common fruit fly is Drosophila melanogaster. When someone refers to the fruit fly, this is the species they’re likely addressing. 

The fruit fly is tiny (about 3 mm long) with distinct red eyes. These red eyes can help you distinguish fruit flies from other flies that are of a similar size and shape, such as phorid flies.  

How did they get their name?

Fruit flies are appropriately named because they breed in rotting fruit. Very little material is needed for development, so even small pieces of fruit can serve as the breeding substrate. So if a random grape rolls under the oven or cabinets, it’s best to promptly retrieve it before fruit flies are attracted. 

Fruit fly development isn’t limited to rotting fruit. You may also find them developing in any sugary liquids in the bottom of your trash or recycling bin, rotting vegetables, or even dirty mops. Adult females will feed on the resource and assess its suitability for her offspring. If she finds it acceptable, she will lay her eggs (i.e., oviposit) there. Larvae, or maggots, will emerge from the eggs and feed on the resource. Once larval development is complete, the maggots migrate from the resource to pupate. The amount of time needed for development is temperature-dependent, with larvae exposed to warm conditions developing faster than those exposed to cold. 

Are they pests?

Fruit flies are nuisance pests, meaning they don’t carry disease or cause any physical injuries like bites or stings but are unpleasant to have in your home. In a warm house, fruit fly development proceeds quickly; the time from egg laying to adult emergence from pupae may occur in a little over a week. This fast development coupled with the fact a single adult can lay hundreds of eggs means a fruit fly problem can get out of control quickly. Fortunately, control is typically easy to achieve once the breeding source is identified.

If you are finding large numbers of fruit flies in your home, call Raleigh’s premier pest control experts at Innovative Pest Solutions today. Our technicians will identify the source of your infestation and eliminate your fruit fly problem FAST!