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Fruit flies are also known as vinegar flies and are widely used for biological research because they breed quickly and are easy to sustain. There can be confusion surrounding the term fruit flies with several species such as Tephritidae and Ceratitis capitata also termed fruit flies, however Drosophila melanogaster refers to the common fruit fly.
Fruit flies are a yellow-brown fly with red eyes and black rings along the abdomen. The females are generally 2.5mm long and the males are slightly smaller. Notable for high egg counts and a fast reproduction cycle, a female lays around 400 eggs into rotting or decrying fruit or other material such as mushrooms. The eggs hatch within 12-15 hours with total development time averaging 8.5 days. Under crowded conditions the development time shortens significantly making an infestation quick to occur.
Fruit fly infestation normally happen in the spring and summer but can be active though out the year indoor. Under normal circumstances fruit flies are brought into the residence on fruit and vegetables purchased at the grocery store. However, they are small enough to fly through the standard window or door screen so can enter the home that way when fruit and vegetables or grown or stored outside of the home. Because the primary food and reproduction sources of fruit flies are fruit and vegetables, the first avenue of preventing an infestation is to clean fruit and vegetables coming into the home and keep them refrigerated.
Placing all fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator and thoroughly cleaning all counters, tables, and cutting boards is the first line of killing off a fruit fly infestation. Trash cans should be clean and have airtight lids and food in cupboards and pantries should be kept in airtight containers. Standing water behind kitchen faucets should be kept cleared and drains and garbage compactors should be kept clean of sticky debris and bacteria. While fruit flies are normally infested in fruit, because they are attracted to sugary food sources they are capable of breeding in liquid such as soda or alcohol so keeping spills cleaned up and glasses rinsed out is yet another line of defense against the fruit fly.
Fruit flies do not feed on blood and do not having biting mouthparts so biting is not an issue. Because fruit flies breed in and carry bacteria there is a risk of contamination and as such an infestation should be taken care as quickly as possible.