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Fruit flies

Fruit flies are common in homes, restaurants, supermarkets and wherever else food is allowed to rot and ferment.

Blow flies

Fruit flies

Fruit flies are about 1/8 inch long and usually have red eyes. The front portion of the body is tan and the rear portion is black. Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of fermenting foods or other moist, organic materials. Upon emerging, the tiny larvae continue to feed near the surface of the fermenting mass.

Fruit flies are especially attracted to ripened fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. But they also will breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash containers, mops and cleaning rags. All that is needed for development is a moist film of fermenting material. Infestations can originate from over-ripened fruits or vegetables that were previously infested and brought into the home. The adults can also fly in from outside through inadequately screened windows and doors. Fruit flies are primarily nuisance pests. However, they also have the potential to contaminate food with bacteria and other disease-producing organisms.

Food varies from excrement to human food. Adults feed only on liquid food and can mechanically transmit many disease pathogens. Female flies will seek out any warm, moist material that has sufficient food for larval development. In daylight hours, flies tend to rest less than 5 feet from the ground on walls, floors, etc. At night, they tend to rest above 5 feet near their daytime food sources.

Life Cycle : Fruit fly life cycle is dependent on temperature. Cool temperatures will slow the development cycle. Warmer temperatures will speed up development. Information below is listed for growth at 77° F at 50% relative humidity, except for B. Iatifrons (80° F at 60% RH). Note also that data have been generated from laboratory flies; wild flies will most likely be different.

Eggs white, up to 1/16 of an inch long.Larvae range in length from 1/16-3/8 of an inch. Just before pupating, the larvae often pop and flip to leave the fruit. Pupation normally occurs 1-2 inches under the soil.Adults usually rest in shady locations unless feeding, mating or laying eggs. Most feed at dawn and mate at dusk.Wing pattern is easiest and most distinguishing characteristic; color is inconsistent and, therefore, unreliable.

Fruit flies

Fruit flies

Adults mate within one to two days after emerging from their pupal cases. The life cycle from egg to adult can be completed in as little as one week, but typically takes three weeks. House fly adults normally live about two and a half weeks during the summer, but they can survive up to three months at lower temperatures. Some overwinter outdoors in protected locations, or in crevices in buildings.

Prevention :The best way to avoid problems with fruit flies is to eliminate sources of attraction. Produce which has ripened should be eaten, discarded or refrigerated. Cracked or damaged portions of fruits and vegetables should be cut away and discarded in the event that eggs or larvae are present in the wounded area. A single rotting potato or onion forgotten at the back of a closet, or fruit juice spillage under a refrigerator can breed thousands of fruit flies. So can a recycling bin stored in the basement which is never emptied or cleaned.

Eradication: structure is infested with fruit flies, all potential breeding areas must be located and eliminated. Unless the breeding sites are removed or cleaned, the problem will continue no matter how often insecticides are applied to control the adults. Finding the source(s) of attraction and breeding can be very challenging and often will require much thought and persistence. Potential breeding sites which are inaccessible (e.g., garbage disposals and drains) can be inspected 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.

Damage: Fruit fly adults most often lay their eggs in the fresh flesh of fruits and vegetables. Fruit is a term that refers to the fertilized embryo of fruit and vegetable flowers. The eggs hatch into larvae (maggots) which most often feed on the inside of the fruit, resulting in a soft, mushy mess. Look for wiggling white larvae the next time you pick a very ripe guava or other fruit.Economic Injury: Fruit flies can often be present at low levels without causing significant economic problems, so control may not be necessary. If high fly populations are causing severe fruit damage, management practices may need to be implemented

Fruit fly maggots hatch from eggs

Fruit flies maggots hatch from eggs

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