Those little flies that you see hovering over your unrefrigerated food and produce in the kitchen are most probably fruit flies, sometimes referred to as vinegar flies. With a lifecycle of 8-10 days, fruit flies reproduce rapidly making infestations grow fast as well as making them more challenging to get rid of.
These pests have a liking for moist, damp places such as garbage/sink disposal drains. They are attracted to fruits and other foods – especially those that are rotting or fermenting.
Other than being extremely annoying when they invade your house, fruit flies also pose a significant health risk as they can transfer bacteria from the rotting food they feed on to other surfaces in the house.
Signs of a fruit fly problem
The easiest signs of a fruit fly infestation to spot are active adult flies and immature fruit flies in the pupal stage. Adult flies can be seen flying around in the kitchen near trash cans, and near decaying vegetables and fruits. Adult fruit flies will also be attracted to beer and liquor, as well as sink and garbage disposal drains.
Fruit fly larvae will crawl out of the breeding medium they had infestedonce they are mature enough and find a dry spot nearby to pupate in. These pupae are another sign of an infestation. They resemble cockroach or rodent droppings but can be differentiated by the presence of a pair of horns on one side.
How to prevent fruit flies
Unlike larger pests, fruit flies are pretty hard to keep out by exclusion. Their tininess and prevalence in store-bought fruits also mean that you might unwittingly bring them into the house. To ensure these pesky pests don’t cause you problems, you should eliminate sources of attraction and breeding mediums by:
- Throwing away fruits and vegetables that are going bad.
- Keeping your fruits and vegetables in the fridge to keep them from going bad and to deny fruit flies access.
- Rinsing cans and containers before you toss them in the recycling bin.
- Keeping your garbage tightly covered.
- Clearing beverage and food spills from countertops and floors as soon as they happen.
Controlling fruit flies
If fruit flies have already invaded your home, you can get rid of them using the following methods:
- Using Traps. Store-bought or homemade traps can be used to get rid of fruit flies in your home. They are very effective and work by attracting flies into a secure chamber (usually with a funnel like entry) using a sweet smelling substance. Once the trap is full, all you need to do is fill the trap’s chamber with soapy water to kill all the insects and then drain the continents.
Because this method does not get rid of the eggs and fruit flies in early development phases, it’s a good idea to keep resetting the traps for at least ten days to ensure that new fruit flies are also captured.
- Using an insecticide.Fruit flies like other insects are susceptible to insecticides. Use an insecticide to exterminate visible fruit flies and keep reapplying to kill new ones that have recently matured. Using an automatic insecticide dispenser will help you avoid the work of reapplication as it will do this automatically at set intervals. This will ensure the problem does not recur.
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