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Fruit Fly

Last updated date: 16th May 2024
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Flies in Kitchen - A Common, Short-Lived Housefly

A species of the common housefly called Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly is differentiated by its red eyes (dark-coloured in several species), tan thorax, and black abdomen. They have obtained their name due to their strong attraction to rotting or ripening fruit that serves as a food source as well as a place to lay their eggs.

If you have been noticing small flies in kitchen, they're probably fruit flies. Fruit flies can be a troublesome issue year-round but are particularly common during late summer/fall since they are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables.

Tomatoes, bananas, grapes, melons/watermelons, squash, and other perishable products brought in from the garden or vendors are often the cause of an infestation developing indoors. Fruit flies are also attracted to rotting apples, oranges, onions, and other unrefrigerated items purchased at the grocery store.

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Physical Characteristics of Fruit Fly - What Do Fruit Flies Look Like?




Small, oval


1/8". Adults are usually 3 to 4 mm long.


Tan or brown


Red eyes, though some are dark-eyed too


Tan thorax. The abdomen is black on top, grey beneath.







Scientific Characteristics of Fruit Fly



Common Name

Fruit fly

Latin Name

Family Drosophilidae






Drosophila melanogaster








Adult Fruit Fly

Adult fruit flies customarily reach 3-4 mm in length and survive a maximum of 40 to 50 days. While fruit flies are most active during the fall harvest, they can be pesky pests inside a home round the year. As you might think, fruit flies are also constant (though non-paying) customers in grocery store produce sections, vegetable vendors and they love to flutter around dumpsters, garbage cans or anywhere else they can mooch a free, fruity meal.

Types of Fruit Flies

Following are the different types of fruit flies-

  • Mexican Fruit Flies

  • Mediterranean Fruit Flies

  • Citrus Fruit Flies

  • Caribbean Fruit Flies

  • Olive Fruit Flies

  • Western Cherry Fruit Flies

 Fruit Fly Interesting Facts for Kids

  • There are more than 120,000 species of flies around the world with about 18,000 found in North America.

  • Female fruit flies lay eggs using rotting fruit or vegetables as their nest.

  •  A female housefly can lay up to 600 eggs in her very short lifespan.

  • Most fruit flies live an average of 21 days and take on different shapes throughout their short lives.

  • Some fruit flies only live for 8-10 days.

  • These little buggers are quite fond of wine and beer! Left open-mouthed?

  • Likability does not mean, fruit flies crave alcohol – you probably won’t see a fruit fly at an AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) meeting– they’re just attracted to any type of fermenting food source.

  • Baby fruit flies are called larvae but they are also recognized as maggots.

  • Amazingly, doctors use a special species of maggots in order to help patients with flesh wounds, particularly burn victims.

  • Maggots consume the damaged flesh, which helps the wound heal.

  • These small insects are nuisance pests that have been known to carry over 100 various kinds of disease-causing germs and may transmit diseases.

  • Fruit flies are a precious asset to scientists performing genetic research, as fruit flies and humans share 75% of those genes which cause disease. Their short lifespan is also compliant with inspecting changes and mutations that can take place between birth and death.

Fruit Fly Trap

A better approach, however, is to build a fruit fly trap by placing a paper funnel (rolled from a notebook paper) into a jar which is then plagued with a few ounces of cider vinegar. Place the jar trap wherever fruit flies are found fluttering. This simple yet effective trap will soon catch any remaining adult flies which can then be killed or dispersed outdoors.

Tiny flies in the house, kitchen or fruit flies in plants are a common problem for many homeowners and are often observed hovering around kitchen fruit bowls and garbage storage bins. How do you catch fruit flies? There are varieties of fruit fly catcher available to capture and kill these pesky insects. These fruit flycatchers use food-based, non-toxic liquid to lure fruit flies inside the apple-shaped trap or catcher. Once they enter the catcher, they are unable to escape to continue breeding. Within a few days of placing the fruit flycatchers, your fruit fly problems will be a thing of the past.

CAUTION! The use of some products may not be legal in your country or state. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official about specific Pesticides recommendations before using any.

Fruit Flies Diet

Another interesting fact about fruit flies is that they do not have teeth or a stinger. Their mouths suck food like a sponge. They can only absorb liquids; however, they can turn many solid foods into liquid by spitting or vomiting on them. Their tongues are straw- shaped that allows sucking up their food. They consume any wet or decaying matter, but they are specifically drawn to pet waste since the odour is strong and it is easy for them to find.

Fruit Fly Reproduction and Life Cycle

The common Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) display a literal four-stage insect reproductive of egg-larvae-pupae-adult. Like any other insect, they also –start as eggs, undergo larval and pupal stages before emerging as adults. The larvae start to feed on decaying fruit instantly upon hatching. It takes about 8-15 days to complete the whole metamorphosis. What makes fruit flies so complex to control is that one female fruit fly can lay up to 500-600 eggs in her short lifespan.

The early life stages span an estimated few days and fruit flies can complete their development in as little as a week under ideal temperature conditions. Adult fruit flies can survive up to 30 days.

This small insect is known for its ability to reproduce rapidly. Larvae of fruit flies occur in moist areas where organic substances and standing water are present. The whole life cycle lasts 25 days or more depending on the weather or environmental conditions and the availability of food.

Fruit Fly Habitat

A common fruit fly habitat includes homes, kitchen/pantry, restaurants, grocery stores, food marts, and anywhere else where food may be rotting and fermenting. Most visible summer through fall, fruit flies can be a nudnik year-round.

As the name suggests, fruit flies are drawn to fruits, vegetables, as well as liquids or spills sitting out on store shelves, in kitchens bowls, floors, and ripening in the garden. These insects are also capable of breeding and rearing decaying meat, trash cans, and spills of soda or alcohol.

Moreover, they also breed in drains, garbage storage and disposal, trash bins, empty beer and soda cans, and soppy mops and buckets. Fruit flies only require fermenting fruit or a moist film of organic substance to breed and bloom. House flies are inclined to stay within 1-2 miles of where they were born but will travel up to 20 miles in search of food. They breed in compost heaps, pet areas, and garbage containers.

Fruit Flies Impact

These insects are known to carry over 100 different kinds of disease-causing germs and even transmit them to humans. Also, commonly found insects, fruit flies in plants are an irritant to households. The compost, vegetable waste, or humus dumped in plants give rise to these houseflies.

Fruit Flies Prevention

Fruit flies or tiny flies in the house are typically drawn to sugary, syrupy, and organic materials and are commonly found infesting fruit. Thus, an ideal approach to avoid problems with fruit flies is to remove sources of attraction. Let’s check for some of the best prevention tips:-

  • The first and best step of addressing a fruit fly infestation is the destruction of their feeding and breeding grounds.

  • Keep your house, garden area, and floors clean.

  • Remove and empty trash regularly and seal garbage containers to prevent fruit fly infestations.

  • Regularly wipe kitchen counters and clean spills.

  • Clean up pet waste instantly.

  • Use fine mesh screens on doors and windows to avert off flies from entering your home.

  • Any fruit brought home should be stored in the refrigerator after cleaning if appropriate.

  • People, who make their own wine, beer, or cider or can their own fruits and vegetables, should make sure that the jars are well sealed; else, fruit flies will lay their eggs beneath the lid and the tiny larvae will enter the jar upon hatching.

FAQs on Fruit Fly

Q1. Describe Fruit Flies.

Answer: Fruit flies are the tiny flies in house, in the kitchen or fruit flies in plants that are no different in their behaviours. These are common in homes, supermarkets, food markets, and wherever else food is allowed to rot and ferment. Fruit flies lay their eggs around the moist surface or grounds of fermenting foods or organic materials. Upon emergence, the tiny larvae persist to feed on the fermenting mass at hand. This surface-feeding feature of the fly larvae is important in that over-ripened portions of fruits and vegetables can be excised without having to discard the remainder of retaining any developing larvae. The reproductive potential of fruit flies is expansive; given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs. The complete lifecycle from egg to adult can be accomplished in about a week.

Fruit flies are primarily pesky pests that also have the capability to contaminate food with bacteria and other disease-inducing organisms.

Q2. Why Did I Get Fruit Flies?

Answer: Fruit flies often infest homes with ripe, rotting, or decaying fruit, vegetables, and produce. They also lure towards fermented items such as liquor, and sugar syrups. Fruit flies also may breed and occur in drains, disposals, trash containers, and mop buckets. Once they start to reproduce indoors, females can lay about 500 eggs and the eggs will hatch in as little as 22-30 hours after being accumulated by the female, making the pests difficult to control.

Q3. How Do I Get Rid of Fruit Flies?

Answer: Once a structure is infested with fruit flies, all capable breeding areas should be detected and eliminated. Unless the breeding sites are cleaned and eliminated, the problem will continue regardless of how often insecticides are applied to control the adults. Potential breeding site source(s) of attraction that is inaccessible (e.g., under the refrigerator, drains, garbage disposals, and gardens) can be probed by taping a clear plastic food storage bag onto the opening overnight. This way the adult flies will emerge and be caught in the bag.

After the breeding site is removed, a pyrethrum-based, aerosol insecticide may be used to kill any leftover adult flies in the area.

Beyond this, Fruit flies often lay their eggs in rotten fruit and other soft, sugary, spongy, and organic substances. If you find a fruit fly infestation in your kitchen, dispose of all damaged fruit. Any subsequently bought fruit or vegetables should be kept in the refrigerator until the fruit fly infestation banished.

If there is no fruit or vegetable matter in your kitchen, check your trash and recycling bins. Outdoor drains are possible sources of yard-based fruit flies, as are overripe fruits under the trees from which they have fallen.

After separating out the fly breeding ground, controlling methods may be utilized. Although complete elimination may need several treatments, the lack of food availability to fly populations will ultimately cause them to die out.

Produce that has ripened should be consumed, refrigerated, or discarded. Cracked or destroyed portions of fruits and vegetables must be cut away and disposed of in the event that eggs or larvae exist in the wounded area. A fruit juice spillage or single rotting onion or potato left at the back of a closet can breed thousands of fruit flies.

 Q4. When are Fruit Flies Active?

Answer: Populations are disposed to build during the summer, becoming highly profuse at harvest time. Indoors, fruit flies are most commonly active at all times of the year.