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Fruit Flies Identification & How to Get Rid of Them

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Known as the common fruit fly or sometimes the vinegar fly, fruit flies are a model organism in biological research today. They are used in physiology, genetics, life-history evolution, and microbial pathogenesis to better understand mechanisms that cannot be studied ethically using other animals. Fruit flies are ideal in this capacity because they are able to breed rapidly and lay many eggs. These insects are also remarkably easy to care for, which can lead to infestations in people’s homes.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Getting rid of fruit flies once they’ve started reproducing can be a real challenge, but if you can find where the breeding area is, it is possible to get rid of them at their source. Here's how to get rid of fruit flies:

  1. Get rid of rotting fruit: Check the house for rotting fruit, of course, and get rid of it if it has gone bad.
  2. Clear out dirty drain pipes: Also, check your drain pipes. Sometimes, fruit flies will use drain pipes as a breeding area.
  3. Get rid of infected indoor plants: Other times, they may use indoor plants as a breeding area. Of course, the goal of indoor plants is to add to the decor in a room, but fruit flies definitely detract from that effect.
  4. Cover and take out your trash: Check to make sure that your trash is covered and take it out regularly as this can also cause problems with fruit flies under certain conditions.

What do Fruit Flies Look Like?

The wild type of fruit fly has red eyes and a yellow or brown colored body. Black stripes may also be observed on their abdomen. Females and males differ in terms of appearance with females being slightly bigger than males. Males also tend to have darker-colored bodies.

The Fruit Fly Life Cycle

The development and growth of fruit flies vary depending on a variety of environmental factors, most notably the temperature. From the egg stage, through larvae and pupation to adult can take as little as 7 days when the temperature of the environment is just right. At higher temperatures, the development of these insects may take longer because the heat causes stress on the developing fruit flies. Overcrowding of the environment can also lengthen development time and the flies that do emerge from the maturation process may end up being smaller under these conditions.

How many eggs do fruit flies lay?

The female fruit fly can lay up to 400 eggs into rotting fruit or other materials such as mushrooms. She lays them five at a time and they begin to hatch within 12 to 15 hours. Larvae may grow for up to four days, molting twice within this period of time, usually within 24 to 48 hours. The larvae will eat tiny microorganisms on the rotting fruit as well as naturally occurring sugars on the fruit itself until the process of pupation begins. The pupa stage then takes about four days. At the end of it, the fruit fly emerges as an adult.

How soon will a fruit fly mate?

The adult female fruit fly becomes receptive to mating within about 8 to 12 hours after emerging from pupation. The male will play a special courtship song to the female by vibrating their wings. The female may reject the male several times before accepting his courtship efforts.

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