As late summer approaches and the harvest begins, you may notice your home being invaded by fruit flies. The fruit fly population slowly builds during the summer until they are quite abundant just as fruits and vegetables are ripening. While not dangerous, fruit flies can be highly annoying as they swarm around your home and yard. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can keep the fruit flies at bay this season.
Fruit flies are small flies that are about ⅓ the size of a housefly. They average 3-4 mm in length and can be identified by their bright red eyes. The body of a fruit fly is often brown or tan with a gray underside.
Fruit flies are abundant during late summer and fall because they breed near and eat ripened fruit, vegetables, and other fermenting foods. In order to reproduce, they must be in areas that are moist and have organic material and standing water readily available. These required conditions mean that homes, food processing plants, warehouses, yards, and restaurants are prime locations to find fruit flies.
Fruit flies reproduce rapidly and can go through the 4 stages of their life cycle (egg, larva, pupae, and adult) in as little as one week. A few flies can quickly became an infestation and require pest control. Luckily, by eliminating their feeding and breeding grounds, you can eventually get rid of the flies. Here are some tips to help you fight the fruit flies.
- Refrigerate all produce immediately
- Wipe up counters and any spills
- Scrub out trash cans, empty them frequently, and make sure that lids are tight fitting
- Fix any leaks that may be causing excess moisture in your home or yard
- Use screens in all of your windows
- Dispose of any overripe, rotten or damaged fruit (in your home, on your trees, or that have fallen to the ground)
- Check your drains to see if flies may be living there
Once the flies breeding material has been eliminated, the population should decrease significantly. If they are still a nuisance, there are several different methods of pest control to try. Before trying any of them, read the directions carefully to ensure proper handling.
- Fruit fly traps- These traps have a special attractant that lures fruit flies
- Pyrethrin sprays- Insecticide derived from chrysanthemums that targets the nervous system of insects
- IGR (insect growth regulator)- prevents the complete development of insects
- Residual insecticides- insecticides that remain active for a length of time
- Drain treatments
If you think that fruit flies may be living in your indoor or outdoor drains, place clear tape over the top of the drain and poke tiny holes that will allow for airflow. After some time has passed, check back. If the tape has any fruit flies stuck to it, you know that your drains may be the source of the problem, and you can use drain treatments to eliminate the flies.
While fruit flies are definitely a nuisance, with some preventive measures and proper handling of ripe fruits and vegetables, it is possible to get through these late summer/early fall months without an infestation. At Six Brothers Pest Control, we want to be your go-to source for information and treatment of all types of pest problems. If you have questions or concerns about household or yard pests, give us a call today. We are your Kansas City pest control experts.