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Bothersome Fruit Flies

By Dr. Doug Asher

Fruit flies are very bothersome pests to have but are very small. Measuring only 1/8 of an inch this fly can drive any homeowner crazy once infested. This fly is also known as the vinegar fly, pomace or red eyed fly. Found throughout the world and in almost any conceivable location this is a most important pest that needs to be controlled. Hospitals, wineries and food establishments are prime places this fly can breed and the complex building structure can be a huge hinderance in control.

The fruit fly is often mistaken for just another gnat or even the phorid fly but this is a mistake to give such a cavalier ID. The best way to identify this pest is by its red eyes which can easily be seen with just a little magnification. Knowing any pest ID is important so you know how to treat and where to look and this especially important fotr the fruit fly.

Fruit flies have a complete metamorphosis so they go from eggs to larva to pupa to adult. Up to 500 eggs are laid by each female which are very tiny and seldom seen. She lays these eggs in or near what you and I might call scum. Rotting vegetable matter or build up grime in a sinks drain are two of the most common sites. The eggs hatch in just over a day and the larva feed for about 6 more. Moving to a drier location larvae begin to pupate and emerge as an adult a few days later. The whole process can be in as little time as 8 days total. This quick life cycle can lead to explosions in numbers of the fruit fly in a very short time.

To get rid of the fruit fly you have to get rid of the breeding site. The key is fruit flies only lay their eggs in moist rotting or decaying debris or matter. This could be an old banana behind the refrigerator, a fermenting potato at the bottom of the bag, spilled juice, scum build up in the drains or just about anything that fits this description. While putting bleach in the drain can help it’s far more effective to physically clean the scum out of the drain. Removing any rotting fruits or cleaning up spills may just be eliminating your source too so leave no stone unturned as you search for possible places the female will lay her eggs. It takes very little organic matter to sustain a whole host of flies so be persistent.

The best approach is to construct a trap by placing a paper funnel (rolled from a sheet of notebook paper) into a glass which is then baited with a few ounces of cider vinegar (or red wine). Place the jar trap wherever fruit flies are seen. This simple but effective trap will soon catch any remaining adult flies which can then be killed or released outdoors.

Getting to the source is the best way to deal with fruit flies but having a trap to give you much needed relief in between will definitely cut down on the frustration of dealing with this pest. Find out how to make a do it yourself gnat and fruit fly trap here

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Asher, Dr. D. "Bothersome Fruit Flies." Bothersome Fruit Flies. 25 Aug. 2010. 8 Oct 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Asher, D (2010, August 25). Bothersome Fruit Flies. Retrieved October 8, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Asher, Dr. D. "Bothersome Fruit Flies"

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