Fruit flies or vinegar flies occasionally become a pest in homes, restaurants, fruit markets or similar places containing food sources. Due to their small size, it is practically impossible to exclude them from buildings. Although Fruit flies can transmit pathogens to plants and animals, their importance is primarily the annoyance caused by their presence. Fruit flies are, brown yellow or brown black in color. They commonly have reddish eyes and are small.
The transparent or cream colored larvae (maggots) feed on yeasts near the surface of the fermenting mass. When the larvae first emerge, they are difficult to see without the aid of a magnifying glass. Larval development can occur in about four days at 24°C. Mature larvae crawl out of the liquid food to a drier area of food or soil to pupate.
The newly emerged adult flies become sexually active in about two days. The adults mate more than once and deposit an average of approximately 500 eggs. Development from adult to adult may be completed in about 10 days at 24°C.
The most important aspect of control is the elimination of food and breeding sites. Fermenting food products are the most obvious breeding areas. Carefully search for an accumulation of rotting fruits or vegetables or other breeding areas and destroy them. Opened jars of fruit and vegetables should be kept in the refrigerator.
The immature stage or larva is considered beneficial, an essential part of the cycle that breaks down waste into water-soluble compounds. However, the adult flies can sometimes become numerous enough in the vicinity of breeding areas to be annoying to people. Eggs hatch into small pale larvae which are the most resistant life stage, being capable of surviving temperature extremes and habitats often low in oxygen.
How Long Do Fruit Flies Live Without Food?
The larvae feed on the liquid or slime layers which develop around debris in drains, sewage treatment beds and standing water. Following a feeding period, larvae pupate and soon emerge as adult flies. Adults live only three to four days without food, but they can survive for weeks if nectar or other liquid carbohydrate sources are available. Adults are small and very hairy, with a pair of pointed wings.
They are frequently mistaken for small moths since the wings are held roof-like over the body when at rest. They are weak fliers and often appear to be jumping or hopping. Flight and mating activities normally occur in the evening hours when they are attracted to lights. Each female can produce about 100 eggs and, under optimum conditions, development can be completed in two weeks.
Drain fly infestations can be eliminated only by removing the larval food source. The larvae usually breed in sink and bathroom drain traps, in spite of the hot water, soap and other debris that flow through them. Thorough cleaning of drain traps with drain cleaners (such as Drano) and long-handled brushes will remove hair and trapped debris. Bleach does not work to kill the larvae so don't just pour bleach down the drain.
Determine the source of infestation by looking for concentrations of adult flies around potential larval habitats such as cooling towers, air conditioners, bird feeders or other places containing standing water and vegetation. Clean, remove or treat the breeding area. Infestations can also be located in a neighbor's yard, shallow pools or sewage treatment facilities, particularly those upwind from the nuisance area. In these cases, contact those people responsible for infested areas.
Haley Pest Control has answers to most of your drain fly problems. We use the best and most effective biological cleaning agents and foaming technologies. We can help you with your sanitation guidelines. We are not however plumbers. It may take a jackhammer or backhoe to replace your sewer line and ultimately solve your problem.