All about Fruit flies

fruit fliesFruit flies are small insects, which are often associated with overripe and fermenting fruits and vegetables. The scientific name of fruit fly is Drosophila Melanogaster, which means a dew lover. They have red eyes and a yellow-brown body. They have traverse black rings across their abdomen. The female fruit flies are slightly larger than what their counterparts are. It is simple to distinguish male and female fruit flies, as males have a black patch at the abdomen. It can beat its wings up to 220 times per second. Fruit fly can make straight sequences of movement and rapid turns. It can rotate 90 degrees within 50 milliseconds.

Fruit flies reproduce anywhere, where there is some fermenting organic matter. They also prefer wet or moist matter to survive. They are attracted to light and moisture and so they can be seen in windows and at sinks.

The life cycle of fruit flies can be categorized into four types- egg, larva, pupa and adult. The female fruit fly lay eggs in fermenting organic matter and the larva is hatched from the egg after twenty-four hours. The larva has two molting periods and they shed the cuticle, mouth, spiracles and hooks during that period. It is called instar at that stage and the fruit fly has three instars. The pupa is developed from the third instar. Metamorphism takes place during the stage of pupa. The pupa darkens just before the adult fly emerges. It also has folded wings and pigment in the eyes twenty-four hours before its emergence.

The adult fruit fly forces its way through the anterior end of the puparium, after completing the metamorphosis. The fruit fly has unexpanded wings and long abdomen in the initial stage and it appears light in color. The fly gets darker color within few hours and it can extend its wings then.

The female fruit fly can start laying eggs after forty-eight hours from the puparium stage. The female fruit fly reproduces once in her lifetime and she can store sperm after a single insemination. She can use it for reproducing several sets of eggs. The male fruit fly attracts her by vibrating his wings. The sperm of the fruit fly is 300 times as long a human sperm.

The female fruit fly gradually uses the sperm to fertilize the eggs. She prefers unripe or slightly ripe fruit to lay eggs. The fruit would be decayed at the time the egg is hatched to larva. The larva can get enough food from the decayed fruit. The female fruit fly can mate with another male, even if she has the sperm store.

There are many types of fruit flies, including Mediterranean fruit fly, Cherry fruit fly and Mexican fruit fly. The scientific name of the Mediterranean fruit fly is Ceratitis Capitata and it lays approximately 500 eggs in citrus fruits except sour limes. The larvae make their way into the flesh of the fruit and make it unfit for human consumption.

Mexican fruit fly is a serious pest and its scientific name is Anastrepha ludens. It is found in citrus and mango fruits in Mexico and Central America. This type of fruit fly has distinctive wing pattern. The females have long, tubular ovipositor sheaths. The adult fruit fly is slightly larger than a housefly and is yellowish brown in color. Olive fruit fly feeds on the fruits of olive tree.  It belongs to Tephritidae family and Bactrocera genus.

Fruit fly is the smallest fly found in homes. Though it does not cause harmful effects directly, people who eat the fruit infested with fruit fly larvae can get intestinal discomfort and diarrhea. Sanitation is the primary requirement to prevent the infestation of fruit flies.

Fruit Fly Removal Tips

Especially for those who live in apartments, the problem of fruit flies is a major one. There is no outside space where garbage can be stored and the bins kept inside the house attract flies all the time. These bins are breeding grounds for the fruit flies. They lay eggs on fruits, rotting food, garbage’s, sinks, rags, mops, empty cans, bottles, etc.  

Fruit flies are dangerous as they carry harmful bacteria and contaminate the food.

Fruit flies removal should involve keeping your home clean and sanitized all the time. Empty the garbage bin as many times as possible. Ensure you do not leave bits of fruits or other eatables lying around. Ensure you dispose of the old rags on a periodical basis. As you disturb the garbage or fruit containing these flies, you find all of them flying away. It is very difficult to catch them once they are disturbed and they go around looking for another place to settle down.

To control fruit files, you can pour household cleaner or even hot water in the drain. After doing this, it is important to cover the drain and leave it overnight. This will eradicate these pests to a certain extent. It is also vital keeping the drain covered every night in order to avoid another infestation.

If you have birds at home, you may have to be extra careful to ensure you do not leave small bits of fruits or pieces of vegetables around on the floor or in the cages. It is a good idea not to feed the birds with organic matter inside their cages.  It is a good idea sticking to pellets and seeds. When you do have to feed them with vegetables and fruits, keep them in a bowl, wait for half an hour for them to feed and remove and clean the area immediately.

There are a variety of sprays and traps available with the help of which you can remove these pests. Ensure the sprays you use are not toxic and harmful to your pets. An excellent home remedy for removal of fruit flies is to mix water, sugar, grapes and vinegar in a tall glass. Take a paper; make a cone out of it. Ensure that the bottom of the cone is cut bigger. Ensure the cone is above the water level and fix it to the glass with the help of a tape.

As the flies are attracted to the sweet mixture, they go down the cone into the water mixture and get trapped there unable to come out. When you are ready to empty the cup, take it slowly covering it with a plastic cover to ensure any flies sitting on top of the glass do not escape. Dispose of the contents outside your home.

Removing the source, keeping the area clean and using one of the effective traps can thus help control the problem of fruit flies.

Damage Caused By Fruit Flies

The vast damage caused due to fruit flies has reached Florida destroying cucurbits and similar truck crops. It attacks stem and root tissues. Pumpkin and squash are seriously attacked even before ripening, by the fly. It devours orange, mango and fig. The Mediterranean fruit fly also called as the medfly is the most colorful pest that measures ¼” in length; with blue eyes and banded wings that feeds on coffee plantations in the upper and lower elevations. This variety is fond of laying eggs in peaches, pears and apples.

Fruit flies can attack more than 250 varieties of fruits, flowers and vegetables. These insects have special liking for white variety table grapes. It is on record that this fly attacked vast fields of this fruit in Greece during August 2007. The solanaceous fruit fly can live and breed in cool and hot weathers equally and destroy more than 230 different fruits and vegetables. They survive in areas where there is rainfall less than 100” per year.    

Adult fruit fly lays eggs inside the flesh of fresh fruits and vegetables when they hang from the plants. The fertilized embryo of vegetable and fruit flowers forms the nest of fruit flies. The maggots which are the insect’s larvae come out of the laid eggs and consume the flesh of the fruits and vegetables. The whole fruit is reduced to juicy inedible mass. These insects are non-detectable by our eyes. If the fruits are cut open, larvae can be seen crawling. We would have seen the wiggling white larvae many times inside any ripe fruit. When fruit flies attack in less numbers, the farmer is not commercially jeopardized but damage caused due to fruit flies in larger population affects the agriculturist economically.

The olive fruit fly is the latest pest that is found in California. It breeds larvae inside the flesh of the fresh olive fruit. These infested fruits are unfit for export or oil extraction. Trees produce olive fruits during the fall season and this is the time when olive fruit flies are seen in large groups travelling long distances. For preventing the damage caused due to fruit flies to their vegetable gardens, the home owners can plant fruitless olive trees. The trees can be treated with high pressure water to wash away the olive flowers from the trees during the flowering seasons.          

Infestation due to fruit flies happens in homes because of presence of highly ripened banana, tomatoes or fermented potatoes and onions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has devised the male attraction treatment to control damage caused due to fruit flies. Patches of food traps with doses of pesticide like α-Ionone and α-ionol are attached to poles or tree branches. Males consume the food poison and expire before mating.            

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