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Control

Once a 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.

After the source of attraction and breeding is eliminated, a pyrethrum-based, aerosol insecticide may be used to kill any remaining adult flies in the area. Alternatively, hang a fruit fly trap wherever fruit flies are seen. You can also use a smoke bomb or hang sticky fly catchers.

Fruit flies are attracted to over ripe produce and sweet sticky liquids. Cover foodstuffs, don't allow fruit and vegetables to ferment and wipe up drink spillages quickly.

Description

If you see small flies in your kitchen, they're probably fruit flies.

Fruit fly
  • Fruit flies are yellow-brown, with brick-red eyes and transverse black rings across the abdomen.
  • They exhibit sexual dimorphism: females are about 2.5 millimeters long; males are slightly smaller with darker backs.
  • Males are easily distinguished from females based on colour differences, with a distinct black patch at the abdomen, less noticeable in recently emerged flies and the sexcombs (a row of dark bristles on the tarsus of the first leg). Furthermore, males have a cluster of spiky hairs (claspers) surrounding the reproducing parts used to attach to the female during mating.
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    Lifecycle

  • 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.
  • The reproductive potential of fruit flies is enormous; given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs. The entire lifecycle from egg to adult can be completed in about a week. The lifespan of the fruit fly is 40-50 days and is heavily influenced by temperature.
  • The fruit fly's life cycle begins when the female lays her eggs on a piece of fermenting fruit or other decaying, sweet organic material. She can lay up to 500 eggs, making it difficult to control the population.
  • After eggs hatch into small, white larvae they eat from their nesting site for four days, absorbing the nutrients and energy needed to transform into adults.
  • Habitats

  • Fruit flies are common in homes, restaurants, supermarkets and wherever else food is allowed to rot and ferment.
  • Fruit flies are especially attracted to ripened fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. But they also will breed in drains, dustbins, empty bottles and tins, mops and cleaning cloths and large spills of soft drinks or alcohol. 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. 
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