Fruit Flies – Know Your Enemy

Fruit flies are a common pest.  All too common, some would say.  They infest homes, restaurants, cafeterias, supermarkets, food processing plants, and breweries.

What we call a fruit fly or vinegar fly; scientists call a Drosophila fly (pronounced “dro-soff-ill-ah).  There are many different kinds, but all have similar looks and habits.  You often see a group of them, small flies, sometimes with tiny red eyes, hovering over one area or flying in small, slow circles.  They seem to appear out of nowhere.  Day after day they’re back, often in ever increasing numbers. 

Fruit flies are attracted to ripe or rotting fruits and vegetables, Vinegar, cider, beer, and any yeast resulting from fermentation.  It takes very little food to breed fruit flies.  Hundreds can breed in the residue inside an “empty” ketchup bottle; thousands in dirty garbage cans.

Insecticide treatment is only a stop-gap measure in controlling fruit flies.  The treatment only kills the adults that are active.  Unless the source of the problem, the breeding site, is eliminated, more and more flies will emerge each day. 

To get rid of a fruit fly infestation is a three-step process.  First, track down each and every breeding site.  Second, remove the rotting and fermenting material that is breeding the flies.  Finally, take steps to prevent the food material from once again accumulating and attracting new flies.

Put a Stop to Fruit Flies!  Check for These Prime Fruit Fly Breeding Sites

  • Stored fruits and vegetables – Check for rotten apples, potatoes, tomatoes, etc. in bins or bags.
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps – Look under appliances and counters.
  • Empty bottles – Fruit flies can breed in the residue of “empty” returnable or discarded wine, beer, milk, ketchup, and other bottles.
  • Beer or wine dispenser – Fermenting residues in a drain or from spills are prime breeding sites.
  • Dumbwaiter pit – These pits are rarely cleaned adequately and may be loaded with rotting food.
  • Garbage cans – Food scraps and sticky residues should be removed by periodic washing.
  • Cleaning water runoff – Mopping and cleaning water can carry food “goo” under walls and into cracks in broken tile and damaged grout.
  • Utility sink – An incrustation of food can build up on a sink used as a common drain for dishwashers, potato-peeling machines, mop basins, etc.
  • Traps and drains – Check for leaking grease traps and broken or stagnant floor drains.
  • Dishcloths and mops – Old forgotten dish clothes and mops can sour and ferment and breed flies.
  • Food carts – Food scraps and sticky residues should be removed by aggressive washing.

 

Fruit Flies