The summer is in full force and with that comes insects and those pesky fruit flies that invade our kitchens at this time each year. As a result, we have pulled together a little summary of how to diagnose, treat, and prevent against these common summertime flies.
Diagnosis: Fruit flies are tiny black or brown flies (1 to 3 mm long) that have a bulbous shape to their lower bodies. Their life cycle is very short and they transform from egg to adult in as little as one week! Fruit flies lay eggs near any surface of fermenting food or areas of moist organic material. These areas often include the surfaces of unrefrigerated fruits or vegetables, garbage cans, compost buckets, or even the residue in your sink drains. Females can lay up to 500 eggs over the course of a few days, and because the eggs and larvae are so small, the early stages of the fly are pretty much impossible to see with the naked eye. As a result, you can go from none to a ton within days. These flies can be on fruits when purchased and a few days later they are in your home and buzzing all around! Their sense of smell is terrific as well; so much so that they can often detect ripe fruits from outside your home and come inside through weaknesses around your windows or doors.
Treatment: Fruit flies are best treated with a fruit fly trap. The Terro fruit fly trap is a customer favorite and by far the easiest solution. They are lured to the trap by its scent, but are not able to escape because of the strategic size of the openings. It is best to dispose of or refrigerate ripe (or over-ripe) fruits and then place the trap on your countertop in the kitchen. By capturing the adult flies, you will effectively end the life cycle. The great thing about these traps is that they include no chemicals and are completely safe to use in the kitchen and near food. If you prefer, a homemade trap can be made from some common kitchen ingredients. They are best constructed from a shallow cup and plastic wrap pulled across the top with small “fork-sized” holes through the plastic. Inside you can either place a ripe banana peel, or cider vinegar and some sugar with a few drops of soap on top. Homemade traps can be an effective solution, but must be emptied daily to ensure that flies will not escape.
Prevention: To lessen the chance of a fruit fly infestation, you will want to be sure to consume fruits or vegetables that are not being refrigerated within a timely manner (one week is a general rule of thumb). Any fruits that may have split open from being over ripe should be eaten or disposed of quickly. Larvae that hatch can survive in the trash bin and emerge as flies if still given a way to exit the waste bin, so it is important to remove trash quickly. Likewise, it is equally important to empty compost caddies in the kitchen frequently. Lastly, any recyclables, such as glass, plastic bottles, or cans should be rinsed clean or taken outside.
Posted on 07/06/2019 at 09:00 AM