Flies, Uncategorized | Posted: March 28, 2023

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

As the weather gets warmer, more pests become active — fruit flies being one of them. Fruit flies can be a major nuisance, and they’re known to carry diseases. But where do fruit flies come from, and how do they end up in your home or business in such large numbers?

To properly address a fruit fly infestation and prevent them from returning, it’s vital to understand fruit fly behavior. By targeting the source of fruit flies, you can effectively eliminate the root cause and reduce the likelihood of re-infestation.

a fruit fly

Identifying a Fruit Fly Problem

The first step to treating any pest invasion is identifying what kind of pest you’re dealing with. While fruit flies might respond to treatments intended for other flying insects, understanding their unique behavior will make treatment and prevention efforts more effective.

What Are Fruit Flies?

Fruit flies, scientifically named drosophila melanogaster, are tiny flies usually found eating decaying fruit. Adult fruit flies are typically about 1/8 inch in length and have a tan or yellowish-brown body with red eyes, but because they are so small and move very quickly, it can be difficult to observe their coloring.

Signs of Fruit Flies

The most obvious sign of fruit flies is their presence, especially if you notice a swarm of tiny flies that mostly spend their time in the kitchen or near other potential food sources. You may also hear the distinctive quiet buzzing sound they make when flying. Depending on how severe an infestation is, you may also see young fruit flies, known as larvae, or even fruit fly eggs.

Differences Between Fruit Flies and Gnats

Fruit flies and gnats are frequently confused. They’re both small, buzzing insects, but there are a few key differences to note. First, fruit flies and gnats have different body shapes. Fruit flies have round abdomens and short legs, while gnats have more slender bodies and long legs. Fruit flies are brown or tan, but gnats are dark gray or may even appear black. Aside from physical differences, fruit flies and gnats also behave very differently. If you see tiny flies inside your home, it’s far more likely you’re dealing with fruit flies. Gnats don’t frequently migrate indoors and tend to swarm outside.

a fruit fly and a gnat

So, Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

To answer the question, “Where do fruit flies come from?” one of the most critical things to understand is what attracts fruit flies. Like all living things, fruit flies require sustenance to survive — and they won’t be interested in making your home their primary residence unless they have good reason to.

What Attracts Fruit Flies to Your Home

Fruit flies are attracted to a variety of foods and substances, particularly those that are overripe, rotting, or fermenting. Their preferred food sources include ripe and decaying fruits and vegetables, plus other organic materials such as vinegar, wine, beer, juice, and other sugary substances. Fruit flies flock to damp, moist environments, like drains and even wet mops soaking in dirty water, especially when searching for breeding grounds to lay eggs.

How Fruit Flies Enter Homes and Businesses

Fruit flies are incredibly tiny and can fit through even the smallest gaps. If your property’s windows, doors, and other entry points aren’t adequately sealed, you risk inviting fruit flies and other pests into your home. Fruit flies may initially be attracted to a food source outside your home, like garbage cans or fallen debris from fruit-bearing trees. Then, if they detect the presence of supplemental meals inside your home, they may sneak inside.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are known to reproduce quickly. A handful of fruit flies can become a full-blown infestation in a matter of days. Fortunately, some DIY methods can kill fruit flies, and professional pest control treatments are almost guaranteed to fix the problem quickly.

Preventing Fruit Flies

One of the best forms of treatment is prevention. Keeping a clean home can greatly reduce your risk of a fruit fly infestation. Make sure you regularly throw out produce as it approaches expiration in a garbage can that seals tightly. If something has already gone bad, especially fermenting fruit, consider placing it in a plastic bag before it goes into your trash can. Wipe up any spills quickly, especially things like sugary juices, vinegars, and alcoholic beverages. In addition to practicing good hygiene, check your entryways for gaps and seal them up — this can help prevent fruit flies and many other unwanted pests.

DIY Fruit Fly Treatments

While at-home treatments aren’t usually as effective as professional pest control methods, in some cases, DIY strategies can remedy minor fruit fly problems.

Fruit Fly Traps

You can create your own fruit fly traps using a small glass jar, plastic wrap, tape or a rubber band, dish soap, and a lure. Fill a jar with a cup of vinegar that has a high sugar content, like apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. Add a few drops of dish soap to the vinegar and mix thoroughly. Cover the jar with a layer of plastic wrap and secure with tape or a rubber band. Gently poke holes in the plastic wrap. Fruit flies will enter the trap through the holes, and the vinegar/dish soap mixture will trap and kill the fruit flies. These traps will likely catch some fruit flies, but not all. Commercial fruit fly traps usually work similarly to DIY traps.

Essential Oils

Old wives’ tales purport the many benefits of essential oils. Peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils are commonly touted as effective for managing flies. However, essential oils come in a variety of grades, and there’s no scientific evidence to prove these substances are effective at repelling or killing fruit flies.

Professional Pest Control Can Tackle an Infestation the Right Way the First Time

Dodson Pest Control has decades of experience managing a variety of pest problems. Our exterminators are extremely familiar with fruit fly behavior and combine their expert knowledge with industry-leading products to effectively address infestations. We would be happy to provide you with a free inspection.

If you have a pest problem, contact us today.

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