Fruit flies, also called ‘vinegar flies’ or ‘wine flies’ are present all over the world. They are often more pronounced and bothersome in late summer and fall months.
The fruit fly is of the genus Drosophila. The word ‘Drosophlia’ means ‘dew-loving’ which accurately describes what attracts fruit flies - ripened fruit and vegetables. Here in North America, the most common families of fruit flies are Drosophilidae and Tephritidae.
Fruit flies are found wherever there is exposed food - homes, restaurants, bars, cafeterias, farms, orchards, farmers markets, garbage cans, dumpsters recycling stations, city dumps, and any business that handles food. They come indoors seeking ripe or rotten fruits and vegetables to eat and lay their eggs in.
Fruit flies are typically 3 to 4 mm long, with red eyes, 6 legs, wings and yellowish to light brown colouring. Fruit flies have sponging mouthparts and therefore cannot bite.
To eat, they deposit their salvia on the surface of fruit or veggies, and suck it up. Because fruit flies frequently feed and breed in dumps and garbage areas, their saliva can contain harmful germs and bacteria, which can be left on the surface of what they are feeding on, therefore ruining and contaminating it.
While fruit flies are more of a nuisance pest in homes, they pose a serious health issue to the foodservice industry, food processing, handling and storage facilities and the overall agricultural industry.
A fruit fly reproduces quickly and has an average life span of 40 to 50 days. Over her life, a female fruit fly can lay 400-500 eggs which she deposits in the skin of rotten or fermented produce. The eggs hatch into larvae (maggots) in just over a day and can mature into an adult fruit fly in less than 2 weeks given the right conditions.
Learn more about fruit flies and how to get rid of fruit flies.
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