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Fly Control

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Fruit Fly

Fruit Fly

Color of Fruit Flies

Larvae are nearly all white, except for black mouth hooks and yellow tips of breathing pores. Adults are dull tan to brownish-yellow or brownish-black, and eyes are usually bright red.


Mature larvae are both eyeless and legless. They are tapered from a large, rounded rear to a pair of dark mouth hooks at the 'head' end. Adults have antennae with feathery bristles. Wings have thickened front margins and intersect in two places.

Where Found

Mythbuster: you will not necessarily attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Vinegar flies are common everywhere; in homes, restaurants, supermarkets, or wherever food is allowed to rot and ferment.


They live and breed in and around their food source. Look for an infested product and the source near where you find the greatest concentration of adults.


Mythbuster 2: you can catch flies with vinegar. Larvae develop in the brine or vinegar of fermenting foods, such as fruits and vegetables or in their jarred counterparts that weren't sealed right at the factory. The eggs are laid near the surface of these foods, where the larvae feed on mostly yeast after hatching about 30 hours later. After a 5-6 day feast, they head to a dryer spot to pupate. When you're a fly, there's no time to waste; after emerging as adults they mate in about 2 days. Good thing humans have longer lifespans than flies; just think if we waited only 2 days to mate. At 85 degrees F, their life cycle can be done and over within a whopping 8-10 days.


Flies aren't known to get top marks in the hygiene department, and for good reason. They transmit disease and contaminate food with bacteria and other disease-producing organisms.


The common door screen isn't much help against the common fruit fly. But don't despair.

Good Riddance

Sanitation and eliminating of breeding sites is critical to controlling this fly. This insect's food source and breeding site are one and the same, and most adults will be nearby. Aerosol pesticides will only provide temporary relief if the breeding site is not eliminated. Careful inspection is necessary. It is important to look for foods that may have dropped under furniture or appliances, as even one small piece of fruit can multiply their population. A drain may also be a breeding source; if you suspect it you can cover it with plastic wrap. Adult flies will be on the underside if it is the source. Some drain lines may require cleaning. Finding and eliminating the source is the best way to achieve long-term control. When using any pesticide, be sure it is registered for the target pest/location. Read the entire label prior to use. Follow all label directions, restrictions, and precautions.

Next Steps

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