Nothing more bothersome than a fruit fly infestation

Eliminating Fruit Flies

by Glenn Mitcham

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We all like to think our home is a sanctuary against the vagaries of the outside world. We keep it clean and presentable, so friends and family can visit and feel welcome. Therefore, there is nothing more shocking or upsetting as finding an infestation of insects in our homes. While these invasions can cover a wide array of insects, we'll be singling out the annoying, bumbling, and incredibly frustrating fruit fly.

So what exactly are fruit flies?

Drosophila Melanogaster, aka common fruit flies, are difficult to see due to their diminutive size, as they are quite a bit smaller than a normal house fly. In addition, they are known to reproduce rapidly. That means that if you don't find their source, no matter how often you try to eradicate them, they'll simply bounce back as strong as ever.

Where can I find the little pests?

There are two main things to look out for when battling any unwanted insurgence of pests: the location they're coming in from and the attraction that is luring them in. While fruit flies can be very simple to find, if you happen to have an infestation of Drain Moths or Fungus Gnats instead, then chances are good that cleaning up the garbage won't be enough. Since these two insects are so commonly mistaken for the Fruit Fly, it's important to have an idea of some of the frequent areas you can find pests:

  • Cracks/crevices, doors, and windows - Older homes will often start to develop small cracks, or sometimes over the course of settling into its foundation, some windows or doors will start becoming misaligned. Not only can properly sealing these areas help prevent insects from entering your home, they can also have a positive impact on saving energy in the home.
  • Drains (both kitchen and bathroom) - Hair and food can get caught in the drains, and not only start to rot but can be a major attraction to bugs. If you think you have fruit flies but notice they are coming from the drain, then you in fact have Drain Moths! Traditional fruit fly baits won't work on them, but simply cleaning out the drain with proper chemicals will do the trick.
  • Basements and garages - These are the common places pests love to move into. Oftentimes we're less concerned with the state of these areas and usually use them as storage. If moisture leaks down, by pipe or weather, it becomes a paradise for insects to congregate. Properly storing your belongings and being conscientious of moisture accumulation can eliminate a lot of hassles.
  • Indoor potted plants - The moist soil of your plants can become a safe haven for more than just your favorite fern. If you see something that looks like a fruit fly, but it's living around your plants, then what you actually have is a Fungus Gnat infestation. Bait traps won't work, but several pesticides exist that can take them out (without hurting the plant!).

What is bringing them into my house?

Fruit flies are named as such for a reason: anything sweet, sticky, or sugary will summon them into your home. There are some simple tips of what to look out for that can assist you with your search:

  • Food - Ripe food that is left out becomes a beacon for insects, particularly the fruit fly. Simply make sure food is in proper containers and take out garbage that has spoiled foods as soon as possible.
  • Sweet drinks - Sodas, wines, and beers are all too easy for us to spill while having a good time. In addition to being a party foul, that sticky surface or drenched carpet needs to get cleaned up!
  • Garbage residue - Similar to sweet drinks, objects or surfaces that have come in direct contact with food can and will retain portions of it on their surface. If you have an area where you've had food spill and its juices leak, such as in a pantry or a spilt trash bag in the garage, just sweeping won't do the trick!

Vigilance is the key to success

So even after you've scoured your house for every trace of food, every possible spilt drink location, or any leak or crack you can find, just keep in mind that stopping bugs is an ongoing process. Unless you live in a sterilized bunker, chances are insects will find their way into your home one way or another. With a little bit of patience and some diligence with cleaning, you can keep your home fruit fly free!

Glenn Mitcham is an avid Do-It-Yourself bug wrangler and insect enthusiast. He works with TERRO™ to develop in-depth blogs to share his hard earned wisdom that he gained over the years by helping people repel pest invasions.

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