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Fruit Flies: The Ultimate Fiend

Fruit Flies: The Ultimate Fiend

AUBURN, Ala.-Fruit flies are pests that most households have had to deal with from time to time. They are small flies most often found in the kitchen that people do not know how to get rid of.

Where do these little menaces come from? How do you get rid of them? How do you prevent them from coming back?

Dr. Charles Ray, an entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, discusses the causes of these fruit flies and what needs to be done to get them out of your house for good.

“One family of fruit flies is the Drosophilidae.  They are sometimes called the Pomace Flies.  This family has about 4,000 different species and are found all over the world.  All, with only 3 or 4 exceptions, lay their eggs in rotting or fermenting material, often fruit but also a variety of other materials,” Dr. Ray said.

shutterstock_110050226_SylvieBouchardDr. Ray explains that the several species are attracted to the over-ripe fruit that may be left in your kitchen counter or in the kitchen pantry.

“The most common attractant in homes is bananas because this fruit goes from relatively green to overripe in a few days and it is usually stored on the countertop thus allowing the odors to drift unabated,” Dr. Ray said.

As fruit continues to ripen, it releases chemical odors that attract the flies that you can see in your kitchen.

“Another fruit fly attractant may be potatoes.  Sometimes we put a bag of potatoes in an out-of-the way spot and they begin to rot.  This will attract another fruit fly, Drosophila busckii,” Dr. Ray said.

Onions can also be an attractant of these types of fruit flies.

“Any fruit that becomes overripe and whose sugars begin to be converted to alcohols will attract that one particular fruit fly,” Dr. Ray said.

So how do you get rid of these fruit flies and make sure they never return?

“Prevention of fruit fly problems in the home is basically good inventory management of fresh fruits and vegetables that we store unrefrigerated,” Dr. Ray said.

Once the first fruit fly is spotted, looking for the over-ripe or rotting fruit should be the next step in eliminating the problem.

“Once the breeding material is disposed, the flies will disappear over time unless we provide them a breeding site,” said Dr. Ray.

By getting rid of the fruit causing the fruit fly infestation, the production of the fruit flies will continue to slow down until they are all gone for good.

Dr. Ray suggests that if you want the flies gone faster to buy a fly strip to hang in the kitchen.

“If a person wants to remove flies rather than wait for the natural decline, he or she could buy an old fashioned fly strip and hang it over a ripe banana.  Flies would be attracted to the odor and will land on the fly strip,” Dr. Ray said.

For more information on home pests, check out Alabama Extensions home pest page.

Feature image by worker/shutterstock.com

Additional image by Sylvie Bouchard/shutterstock.com



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