Common Fruit Fly

fruitfly

Overview

There are many species of fruit fly in North America but the most common species is Drosophila melanogaster the model organism used in genetics and evolutionary biology. Also known as the vinegar fly, this pest can emerge in buildings in large numbers and can be difficult to control.

Identification

The common fruit fly can be recognized by its bright red eyes. A small species of fly that can hover in mid air as it searches for a food source.

Biology

The rapid life cycle of this pest is well known. Able to reproduce from egg to adult in about 9 days, the reproductive potential of this fly is enormous. Eggs are laid in rotting fruit, especially bananas. Females can lay as many as 400 eggs during her lifetime of about 30 days.

Control

The main reason these flies are hard to control is the difficulty of finding the rotting fruit or other decaying food source. Bananas and other fruit left in locked desk drawers while the owner is off on vacation is a classic example. The bottom of waste baskets in which food was dumped and not cleaned thoroughly is another example of a fly breeding zone. In hospitals and other large facilities with push carts for cleaning up trash, the bottom of these trash carts are often a source of fly larvae when liquid leaks through the bottom of bags. Forgotten or missed food trash cans are often a source. In kitchens, the delivery of damaged fruit is a very common occurrance and the reason fruit flies are a constant threat.

By finding and eliminating the food source, the fly infestation will quickly end. Spraying pesticides will only eliminate adult flies and seldom reaches the larvae.

A venus fly trap plant is often appreciated in an office setting where employees need a sense of humor while batteling fruit flies.

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