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While there are all sorts of insects you encounter as a homeowner, nothing might be quite as annoying as an abundance of fruit flies. These tiny bugs can grow exponentially and invade your kitchen.
If you’ve ever encountered fruit flies, you know how frustrating it can be to get rid of them. If you’re stuck with a fruit fly problem, here are a few tips that can help you eliminate them from your home.
Bug infestations are difficult to manage, so let a pro handle it. Contact a pest control contractor today for quotes from professionals in your area.
How To Identify Fruit Flies
You’ll likely never confuse a fruit fly with its larger counterpart. These tiny bugs are about 1/8” in length and where you’ll find one, you’ll likely find many.
“The first thing we learn in pest control is to identify what type of pest you are dealing with,” Bill Hastings, branch manager of Rose Pest Control, said. “Fruit flies and flies fall into the category we call filth flies.”
Hastings said that there are two types of fruit fly that can be identified by their eye color. Fruit flies with brown eyes are less common and likely found around potatoes and onions. Red eye fruit flies are more common as they are found in fermenting fruit or decaying matter.
“It takes only eight days for an egg to reach adulthood,” he said. “Eggs hatch in as little as 30 hours after being laid, so that is why about a week after purchasing fruit or produce and leaving it out on the counter, you will begin to see fruit flies. Once fruit flies are in the house or kitchen, it can be difficult to eliminate them if you do not find where they are breeding.”
Yes, fruit flies are annoying, but they should also be taken seriously. Since they are attracted to the food you eat, they can bring bacteria and other germs that you could potentially consume, making you sick. Getting rid of them is important as soon as possible is key.
What Attracts Fruit Flies To The Home?
Fruit flies are attracted to the food in your kitchen and can grow quickly because that’s where they breed. This can be from the groceries that come in to a sticky stain on your counter.
“In general, fruit flies are not attracted to our homes but are brought in on the produce we purchased at the store,” Hastings said. “Their eggs were already on the flesh or skin of the produce when you purchased it. It's not the store's fault, but rather what happens in nature. When fruit ripens, it’s rotting. We just happen to consume it before it rots all the way.”
If you’ve walked into your kitchen and noticed not one but many fruit flies, you’re not seeing things. Once they are in the home, they can breed at an exponential rate, which is why homeowners must find the source of where they are laying their eggs to completely get rid of fruit flies.
“Fruit flies will lay their eggs in or on any decaying organic matter that is moist,” Hastings said. “Trash cans, bananas, potatoes, sink drains, garbage disposals, drip trays in the refrigerator door, spilled soda and food under appliances are all places a fruit fly will lay their eggs.”
Hastings also said that fruit flies are more noticeable when the weather is warmer, but it’s likely because homeowners are more likely to buy fruit at that time.
“When we leave fruit out in the open, we create the perfect storm: Warm weather, moist fermenting fruit and no pesticides,” he said.
Fruit Fly Prevention Methods
As you can see, the produce you pick up from the store might be the how the fruit flies enter the home. Since they can infest so quickly, you’ll want to make sure one of the first things you do is clean your fruit thoroughly as
Don’t let the name fruit fly fool you either. As I mentioned earlier, you should store your vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated properly to prevent a pest problem.
“Potatoes and onions are the worst when it comes to the brown-eyed fruit fly because most of us store these items in open un-refrigerated areas,” Hastings said. “It’s a bad idea, potatoes and onions should be stored in a cool, dark place. Reducing the temperature increases the time it takes for the egg to hatch, even preventing them from doing so until it warms up.”
Another fruit fly prevention step you can take is to replace your garbage cans lids that have a loose seal. This prevents fruit flies from getting in and breeding on food left in the trash. Hastings also advises that you should wash out your garbage cans at least once a month.
“You would be surprised at how this one simple step would reduce a whole host of different problems associated with pests in your home,” he said.
Get Rid Of Fruit Flies
If you find yourself with an abundance of fruit flies in your home, don’t panic. The first step is to figure out where they are breeding. By doing so, you can get rid of the eggs that will hatch soon, leading to an even bigger fruit fly problem. “You have to eliminate the breeding site before you can achieve control,” Hastings said.
Finding the source can be tricky. Check your produce that’s been sitting out first, including onions and potatoes. Follow your nose. Does something smell “off” in your kitchen? It could be a rotting fruit or vegetable that’s certainly attracting the fruit flies. If that doesn’t do the trick, you’ll need to clean between and around appliances, sanitize your garbage and wipe down your sink. This will help remove any accidental spills or spots where food has landed, that you may have missed before.
Once you’ve eliminated the source, you can start trying a few methods to eliminate the fruit flies that are still in the home. Hastings said you can use aerosol pesticides that are labeled for flying insects to eliminate them, being careful to follow usage instructions on the label.
Some homeowners prefer to try a DIY route for fruit fly elimination. Making a fruit fly trap can be made from materials you have around your house. Most DIY fruit fly traps often include apple cider vinegar in a container of some sort. Here’s a great tutorial from Family Fresh Meals on how you can make your own fruit fly trap.
Fruit flies are a nuisance in any home. But, you can get rid of them by finding the source and taking prevention measures. If you’re finding that your fruit fly problem won't’ go away, it’s time to contact a pest control contractor who can help.
Looking for more pest control tips? Read Pest Prevention For Your Home.