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Fruit Flies: How to Get Rid of the Fruit Fly | Infestation Eradication & Prevention

Author C. Sanders. Published on June 3, 2011 - 3:51 pm (952 views — 569 words)

If you have seen small gnats or "flies" in your kitchen, they are more than likely a devilish fruit fly. They can be a problem year round, but are most commonly seen during the late summer and fall months, because they are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables.

Items such as tomatoes, melons, grapes, and squash that are brought inside from the garden are most often the reason why an infestation starts indoors. Fruit flies are also attracted to rotting bananas, onions, potatoes and other things that are not placed away in the refrigerator. These visitors may seem like they are there for good, but fortunately there are ways to rid your home of these little demons.

Biology and Behavior of the Fruit Fly
The adults are about 1/8th of an inch long and have red eyes. The portion of the body toward the head is tan and the rear section is solid black. They lay their eggs near the surface of rotting or moist foods, or other organic materials. After hatching, these tiny larvae immediately join in on the fiesta of the fermenting mass. They reproduce in incredible numbers, as they lay around 500 eggs at a time. From larvae to adult usually takes around only one week.

Fruit Fly Prevention
Obviously, the best prevention method is to eliminate sources that the fruit flies will naturally be attracted to. Ripened produce should be eaten, thrown away, or placed in the refrigerator. Cracked or damaged portions of fruits and vegetables should be cut away and thrown away. Do not leave these items in your trash can unsealed for very long before removing the bag from your home.

If you spill fruit juice, clean it up. A small spill under a cabinet, under a refrigerator, etc. can breed thousands of fruit flies.

People who can their own fruits and vegetables, or make wine, cider or beer should ensure that the containers are well sealed; otherwise, fruit flies will lay their eggs under the lid and the tiny larvae will enter the container upon hatching. Windows and doors should be equipped with tight-fitting (16 mesh) screens to help prevent adult fruit flies from entering from outdoors.

Fruit Fly Eradication
Once an area is infested with fruit flies, every potential breeding ground must be located and eliminated. Unless the breeding sites are eliminated or cleaned properly, the problem will never end, no matter how often insecticides are applied to control adults. Finding the source(s) of attraction and breeding can often prove to be very challenging and often will require much thought and persistence. Potential breeding sites which are not easy to inspect (garbage disposals and drains) can be examined by taping a clear plastic food storage bag over the opening overnight. If flies are breeding in these areas, the adults will emerge and be caught in the bag.

After the source of attraction and breeding is eliminated, a pyrethrum-based, aerosol insecticide may be used to kill off remaining adult flies in the specific area.

However, a better approach is to create a trap by placing a homemade funnel (rolled from a sheet of paper) into a jar, and bait it with a few ounces of cider vinegar. Place the trap where you have seen the fruit flies. This is effective, and will soon trap any remaining adult flies. At this point you can destroy them, or set them free outside.