They can visit your home during any of the warmer months, but there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing a fruit fly invasion right now, as summer gives way to autumn. Fruit flies can be frustrating, because their source is often difficult to identify. Although not dangerous, these pests are certainly a nuisance.
Fruit flies are about 1/8 inch long, and have distinctive red compound eyes. They develop from egg to adult in about seven days, and can live for about a month. Females lay 400 to 500 eggs — do the math, and it’s easy to see why a swarm of the flies can seem to appear out of nowhere. Adults are attracted to overripe fruit and vegetables, as well as empty soda cans, beer cans, soup cans, and even dirty dishrags. They’re also attracted to fermented substances like wine, vinegar, and ketchup. Keep this in mind when creating DIY fruit fly traps. It can also be helpful to clean drains, which might be home to decaying organic materials. The key to eliminating fruit flies and their relatives is cleanliness.
Some fruit fly relatives include phorid flies, which look kind of like fruit flies without red eyes; drain or moth flies, which also look similar; and sphaerocerid or dung flies, which are common around chicken houses. (We have a few of those here in Sussex County!)
Home remedies for fruit flies include spraying them with rubbing alcohol, and trapping them with a variety of solutions, of which everyone seems to have a favorite that works best for them. DIY traps are usually made with a small bowl filled partially with a fermented liquid like vinegar or wine, plus a small amount of dish detergent. Saran wrap is then stretched over the bowl and punctured several times to allow the flies to enter the trap.