Fruit flies are tiny, gnat-like nuisance flies that are typically pale yellow to reddish-brown, with red eyes. They are found all around the world, especially in tropical regions, and become a nuisance when they hitch a ride into your house on produce or sneak in through window and door screens.
Fruit flies are a problem all year, but are especially common during late summer/fall because they are attracted by ripened or fermenting fruit and vegetables.
Here are five facts you probably didn't know about fruit flies:
Fruit flies don’t actually eat fruit. They’re attracted to fruit that is overly ripe or fermenting, but what they eat is the fungus or rot that grows on or inside the fruit. They also lay their eggs either on the rotted part, or deposit the eggs inside the fruit -- so the larvae will have something to eat once hatched.
Fruit flies like slime. A damp, slimy environment is where they hang out and breed. Sink drains, garbage cans, disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash containers, mops and cleaning rags are all places where fruit flies can reproduce. All that is needed for development is a moist film of fermenting material.
Fruit flies are fruitful in multiplying. Fruit flies breed exponentially. A female fruit fly can lay anywhere from 500-2000 eggs in a lifetime. The eggs can hatch into larvae in as little as 12 hours. Each egg takes 10-14 days to mature into an adult. The entire fruit fly life span is 30-50 days.
Fruit flies have a powerful sense of smell. They use their antennae to follow fermenting fruit from far away. Once the produce on your counter starts to go just past the ripe stage, fruit flies can smell it from outside and find their way inside through the tiniest of crevices around a window or a door. They are also small enough to fit through window screens.
Fruit flies drown their sorrows in alcohol. We know that fruit flies are attracted to wine and beer because of the fermentation and fruity/yeasty smell. But they also turn to alcohol to drown their sorrows. A 2012 study done by the University of California, San Francisco revealed that a molecule in the brain causes frustrated male fruit flies to binge on alcohol when their sexual advances are spurned by females.
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