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The invasive Tau fruit fly

The invasive Tau fruit fly has landed in the heart of Southern California, and part of Los Angeles County is now under quarantine. This is the first time a quarantine has been issued for this pest in the western hemisphere. Public officials warn that the Tau fruit fly poses a significant threat to our produce and food supply. Keep reading as we break down everything you need to know to protect your home from this serious pest. 

What you need to know about the Tau fruit fly

The Tau fruit fly originates from the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. Experts believe this species made its way to the U.S. through infected fruit and produce shipments. Tau fruit flies lay their eggs inside of unripe fruit, causing damage, introducing decay organisms, and leading to tissue breakdown. They can also be found in host plants such as okra, peppers, cucumbers, avocados, tomatoes, and more. 


This species is more than double the size of the average fruit fly and can travel exceptional distances. In addition, its reproductive capabilities make it a significant pest. Female fruit flies can lay eggs 12 days after mating and can produce over 450 eggs. It only takes two days for these eggs to hatch, and eggs reach full adult maturity in as little as 13 days. Tau fruit flies can be identified by their yellow body with black markings and their clear wings with two dark stripes. This species does not bite; instead, they have sponging mouthparts that slurp up liquified food. 


Is the Tau fruit fly dangerous? 

Thankfully, Tau fruit flies are not a health threat to humans; however, they pose a significant risk to our food supply. Since this species likes to lay its eggs in unripe fruit, there is already significant damage before the fruit is ready for consumption. These infestations can spread quickly, especially as humans help transport the infected fruit through our food supply channels. 

This species' ability to spread quickly and its risk to our food supply makes a quarantine essential. This type of quarantine is not uncommon for invasive species that target our food supply, but it should still be taken seriously. A quarantine allows us to prevent invasive species from gaining a foothold in our region. If you are in a quarantined area, you should not move any fruits or vegetables from your property. Infected produce can be consumed or processed immediately. Otherwise, any produce should be double-bagged and disposed of according to your local waste management guidelines. 

How to protect your home from fruit flies

Prevention is the best way to control fruit flies in your home. When it comes to fruit flies, there is almost always a sanitation component involved. Taking out the trash daily, cleaning out garbage disposals and drains, and eliminating moist areas like bath mats and mud rooms can make a huge difference. If you notice fruit flies, do not move fruits, vegetables, or houseplants to a new location. Any infected produce should be immediately disposed of. In addition, it's important to caulk and seal baseboards in kitchens or bathrooms and avoid over-watering house plants. 

Although there is no shortage of DIY treatment methods found online, without proper breeding ground elimination, the fruit fly infestation will only continue. That's why it's best to contact your local Western Exterminator technician for help. Our experts are trained to find the source of the infestation and eliminate fruit flies from your home.

western exterminator technician talking to a customer

Pest control you can count on 

Fruit flies can be a nuisance for any homeowner, and unfortunately, they can be tricky to get rid of. At Western Exterminator, our technicians have been providing reliable fly control and removal for decades. Your local Western Exterminator technician is trained to pinpoint infestations and stop fruit flies in their tracks. 

Let our experts take the stress off your shoulders. Fill out our online form or give us a call at 855-620-8544 for a free consultation.

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