Fruit flies come in varying yellow shades, brown-black or brown-yellow. As their name suggests fruit flies feed on fruits. They have red eyes dominating the head and a tan thorax. They are about a fifth of an inch to one tenth of an inch in length. Fruit flies are related to the house fly.
Fruit flies do not bite
The mouth structure of fruit flies does not aid biting so it cannot puncture or pierce anything. Fruit flies feed on liquids only. They will spit on solid food to soften and liquefy it before sucking it through their proboscis.
Fruit flies have a strong sense of smell. They are attracted to over ripe and fermenting fruit. The trash bin with the discarded salad remains of tomatoes, onions, avocado and other bits of fruits emit a scent that is irresistible to fruit flies. They fly towards the smell and right in to your trash can.
The life cycle of the fruit flies is about 50 days. The weather and temperatures greatly influence their development . During warm weather female fruit flies lay batches of eggs in garbage or rotten fruits which will act as food when they hatch into larvae. A female fruit fly can lay as many as 500 eggs in its lifetime increasing their population rapidly.
There are four clear phases in a fruit fly life cycle.
Egg phase: the female fruit fly lays about 20 eggs that hatch into larvae within 2 days. At this stage fruit fly eggs are so small you might fail to see them on your vegetables and fruits.
Larva phase: this stage lasts for about four days. The eggs change into maggots that eat night and day voraciously, readying for the next phase of transformation. They molt several times to accommodate their growing bodies.
Pupa phase: this is where the magic happens and the larva transforms into a fruit fly and emerges fully grown.
Adult fruit fly: this is a fully grown fruit fly and now the cycle can begin anew.
This whole process from egg to adult fruit fly metamorphosis takes less than two weeks.
During winter they enter a kind of sleep mode known as diapause during which their growth and appetite slows down until the weather warms up again.
How fruit flies get in your house
Fruit flies enter you home through open windows and doors. If these are closed they can pass through tiny gaps around the windows and cracks and crevices in the walls. You may import the fruit fly eggs laid in fruit and vegetables into your home when you buy them from the grocery store.
Fruit flies can be dangerous to your health because when they walk on garbage and rotting matter, bacteria laden debris sticks to their legs and when they alight on your fruit salad they leave some of these bacteria behind causing diarrhea and cholera.
To avoid attracting fruit flies in to your house make sure you keep vegetables and fruits in the fridge. Garbage bins should have tight fitting lids and frequently emptied and cleaned. Fruits that are about to rot should be discarded immediately.
The fruit fly is one of smallest and most ubiquitous flies found in our homes. It finds its way into our homes on fresh veggies and fruit brought from the grocery store. Finding plenty of food in the home it hangs around.
It has a yellowish – brown body with a tan underside and black rings across its abdomen. It has red eyes dominating the head. In length it’s 3 to 4mm.
Its scientific name is drosophila melanogasta though it is commonly known as fruit fly. It feeds on fermenting liquids such as beer, soft drinks, rotting vegetables, overripe fruit and foods in garbage. It can’t resist vinegar and pomace. Fruit flies are found in bakeries also because they are attracted to yeast.
A large amount of fruit is harvested at the tail end of summer and during fall attracting huge numbers of fruit flies.
The female fruit fly lays about 20 eggs in rotting fruit or in garbage that will be a food source for the larvae when they hatch. The eggs are very small and are easily overlooked. They will hatch after two days.
The second stage is the larvae. It lasts for about four days and within that period these worms eat night and day molting several times to accommodate the bigger body.
In the third phase the larvae seal themselves up in a cocoon and wait as the metamorphosis happens.
Fourth phase the fly emerges as fully formed fruit fly and the cycle begins again.
All these stages from egg to adult take just about two weeks.
Fruit flies can lay 500 eggs in their lifetime. They have a lifespan of 50 days.
The fruit fly doesn’t damage the home but it is a total nuisance.
Fruit fly control
The most effective way of controlling fruit flies is by identifying their source of food and their breeding habits
Refrigerate or throw away ripening fruits.
Before recycling beverage containers wash them out.
Make sure trash and garbage containers are clean.
Clean up any spilled soda, juices and beer.
Make simple effective homemade traps.
You will need :
Apple cider vinegar
Put a cup of the apple cider vinegar into a small bowl. Add a few drops of dish soap .
Place the bowl in where the fruit flies are let the trap work its magic.
This is effective because fruit flies can’t resist the smell of vinegar and they will try to land on top of it but will fall in and drown because the vinegar’s surface tension is broken by the dish soap.
This method is eco friendly cheap and has no harsh fumes.
Make another simple trap by putting a bit of overripe fruit in plastic bag that is open. Seal the bag carefully after the fruit flies have congregated on the fruit trapping them inside.
Prevent future infestations
Infestation happens when fruit that is infected is brought home from the grocery store. Don’t buy any produce that fruit flies are hovering around.
Make sure that fruits are eaten before they overripe.
Ensure your trash is taken out regularly and the bin scrubbed inside to get rid of bits and fluids that are left at the bottom.
If these measures don’t deal with the infestation call a professional pest exterminator to help you out.
HOW LONG DO HOUSE FLIES LIVE
With the exception of Antarctica, house flies are found everywhere humans are. House flies are one of the most annoying pests around. When spring comes around they rear their pesky heads again.
House flies have gray bodies. They have one pair of transparent wings. The head is dominated by their eyes which are made up of thousands of hexagonal lenses. This enables them to identify colors and gives them 360 degrees field of vision. They see four times faster than we do, so whatever you are doing is in slow motion to them. They are unable to see at night. They have three pairs of legs which are equipped with sticky pads and sharp claws at the tip. That is why house flies can climb and walk on all surfaces.
House flies don’t seem to do well in the wild. They live in close proximity to people feeding off their waste and foods. They transmit a lot of infections that are harmful to people
Two to three days after they are born house flies are ready to breed. They will lay a clutch of 100 to 150 eggs at a go in garbage, organic waste and spoiled food which will be food for the larvae when the eggs hatch. They are prolific breeders laying eggs 6 to 7 times in their lifespan. The eggs can’t be seen with the naked eye, they are very tiny. They hatch within a day and the larvae emerge. They are voracious eaters and in one week will increase in size by about 800 times. The larvae turns into pupa and in a week metamorphosizes emerging as an adult house fly. It takes 12 to 14 days to develop from egg to adult.
For the first 3 days the fly crawls while waiting for its wings to strengthen. At this stage it can procreate.
House fly lifespan
Do house flies live for 24 hours? That’s a myth. Typically the female house fly lives for around 25 days, males will live for around 15 days depending on the availability of food, the temperature and region among other variable factors. Generally in warmer temperatures house flies develop faster and in cooler temperatures will develop more slowly extending the life cycle a little.
Flies will eat just about any organic waste or food. They like sugary drinks and sweet liquid foods they can suck. To eat solid food they spit on it to liquefy it. Flies rub their legs to clean them of debris and then clean their eyes and wings.
House flies carry disease causing bacteria which they spread by crawling on food and depositing the bacteria that cause diseases like dysentery, cholera and anthrax.
Getting rid of house flies
There are plenty of ways to get rid of flies. There is always the simple and trusty fly swatter. This is very satisfying when the swatter comes into contact with the fly. But is rather messy and will take quite a while to hunt and kill them.
Adhesive tape emits a smell that attracts flies and they get stuck upon landing on it. It is very easy to use. Just unroll and hang it then go about your business let it catch the flies for you.
If the house flies overwhelm you reach out to a pest control professional to deal effectively with this problem.
Understanding what flies eat is one of the best ways to prevent their infestation. Generally, organic decaying matter attracts flies. Homes and business owners have issues with flies such as fruit flies, house flies and blow/bottle flies.
To know what flies eat is important since it helps remove conditions which are conducive to their infestations. Proper storage and disposal of food, cleaning surfaces where the food is prepared can greatly reduce their populations in your premises. Hygiene is the simple key that will make all the difference
The feeding habits
The adult flies feed and harvest for their larvae on organic decaying matter such as meat, vegetables, animal, human feces and plant secretions. The both sexes of flies also suck nectar from flowers.
Larvae are most likely to hatch during warm weather because that is when the flies are active. Flies are attracted to your home dues to heat and odors.
What do house flies feed on?
House flies can feed on any food and fecal matter from humans and plants. They can be considered to be general feeders. They have sponging mouth parts and therefore eat liquids. It is for this reason that they must liquefy food by regurgitation. The following are some of the substances they get attracted to:
- Animal feces
- Overripe vegetables and fruits
- Sugary substances
What do fruit flies feed on?
These are type of flies that get attracted to liquid sources and fermented food. This is why they are commonly found in food industry and homes. The types of foods they search for include:
- Fruits such as grapes, pineapples, bananas, onions, potatoes, peaches, mustard pickles, etc.
- Liquid like vinegar, wine, beer, and cider
- Sugary substances such as candy
What do blow/bottle flies feed on?
Blow/bottle flies are big flies with metallic green, blue black sheen. They are known to burrow themselves into food from where they develop. They are often the first to arrive immediately an animal dies. They prefer:
- Animal carcasses
- Decaying or fresh meat
What do cluster flies feed on?
They feed on flower nectar and other plant juices. When they are absent, they eat decomposing organic materials.
They lay eggs in moist soil cracks. In their larval stage and they tend to have a parasitic behavior. They are found on body cavities of earthworms which they have feed on.
What do horse flies feed on?
They are a rare type of fly that has mouth parts that can cut and tear. Their bite is very painful. Their jaws are scissor-like and can tear flesh.
The males eat honeydew, flower nectar and plant juices. The female horse flies feeds on blood meal to have enough protein to lay eggs. The females will bite on both humans and cattle to draw blood. Their larvae eat small insects found in the breeding area.
Flies can be annoying, dirty and others can bite. If you are experiencing an infestation in your home, practice high hygiene standard is key in reducing their population.
Flies grasp with their strong legs and claws and then diving their beaks firmly into the bodies of their victims, they suck the blood with great voracity. Next is the life cycle of a fly, the robber fly:
Robber flies belong to one of the largest families of the great order Diptera or two-winged flies. Many of them are of large size, the largest measuring nearly two inches in length.
They are usually hairy, and some of the species are quite robust, resembling the bumblebees in form and color; others are elongate with slender bodies.
The fertilized egg develops within the egg into a young insect, which escapes by bursting the shell or gnawing its way out.
Young insects go through shedding, or ecdysis, several times before they become adults and stop ecdysis permanently.
Most insects shed 4 to 8 times as they grow. The stages between the shedding are defined as instars.
Viewed from the front, the robber’s head is broad, the compound eyes are prominent, and the remainder of the face is hairy and bearded.
The proboscis or beak is stout and strong and is formed for piercing and sucking. Strong in flight, the two wings are long and narrow, while the legs, which are spiny and furnished with stout claws on their toes, are used in grasping their plunder as well as a support for their body when at rest.
These predatory insects rest on the ground, or upon the foliage of plants growing in open sunny spots. Here they lie in wait for their prey, and when a victim in the shape of some other insect appears, they take to the air with a loud, buzzing sound, catching it on the wing.
The unlucky insect, once seized in the powerful grasp of a robber fly, is powerless to escape.
They will attack almost any insect and are even bloodthirsty enough to catch and eat their own kind.
Often they have become a nuisance in making their lair in the vicinity of an apiary, where they kill the honeybees. One of the larger species was observed during the summer capturing a “locust” or cicada.
The robber-fly attacked the cicada on the wing about twenty feet from the ground, and the pair came whirling down. In this case, the booty was too bulky to carry off to some convenient roost, as is generally the case.
Fortunately, robber-flies never attack humans or animals, although if they are carelessly grasped they will sink their lancets into the flesh.
The larvae or “maggots” that hatch from the eggs laid by these flies are also carnivorous. Some of them live in the ground, where they hunt for food among the decaying vegetation; others make their home in rotting logs or beneath loose bark of dying trees, where they hunt and feed upon other soft-bodied insects.
If we follow the fortunes of one of these larvae or “maggots,” we will find that after consuming sufficient food and overwintering, it will go through the usual transformation, emerging finally from the pupal case a perfect robber-fly-and real robber.
You will find those little bugs swirling over fruits, leftover beverages, sinks, and any place where they might find enough source of food to lay their eggs in. Now, how long do fruit flies live?
The fruit fly has a life-cycle of about 8-10 days, and a single female fly can lay about 500 eggs, which hatch within 30 hours of time. This is why you will see a swarm of them very very quickly, and it is exceptionally hard to get rid of them.
To eliminate them naturally is one of the best ways to get rid of them, because it will ensure a clean, beautiful, and sanitized home without any fruit flies roaming around without any control.
Now, how would you sanitize your home in order to avoid them?
The simplest approach is to keep everything clean, as much as it is possible. Make sure everything is clean and clear, wash the sink and clean the drain after you do the dishwashing, dispose of or clean your dishrags properly.
Also, make sure they are dried properly because fruit flies love those places to build their nest in. As you might already know, they breed only where they find sufficient food for the hatchlings.
Now you know their basic nature which might help you to get rid of those beasts. If you have a trash bin which is not the type that has a cover then it is recommended that you get one, also do not keep your trash in paper bags or any other bags just in the open.
It is essential that you dispose of your trash properly do not just get it out of sight, it will not solve your problem. Empty the bin every day or as soon as it is full, else it might attract even more of them.
They are also in “love” with fruits and vegetables, especially if those are overripe. If you have a bowl where you store your fruits in, make sure it is covered, or best is to keep it in the fridge.
These are some natural common tips to prevent and get rid of fruit flies, however, sometimes you will need other methods.
Make sure everything in your house is dry and clean because fruit flies will breed only in moist areas. This is why they love sinks actually because they will feed off the leftovers and it is extremely moist in a sink.
The most common breeding places for fruit flies are vegetables and fruits (hence the name fruit fly), wet and dirty dishrags, spills (which are usually hard to access for example behind a cupboard or under the bed where you wouldn’t expect it), and messes.
Make sure to get rid of all the things and seek the assistance of a pest control company in order to avoid a population of fruit flies.
Some leftover food, some filth, fair weather and you’ve got yourself a fly party. Flies can be bothersome and they are not likely to leave on their own accord. Therefore, here are some useful tips on how to get rid of flies outside the house.
Under the Cover
Food, fruits, and flesh attract flies like blooming flowers to bees. They just can’t help it. A fly’s natural inclination is to be attracted to anything that’s moist and aging.
The solution: Cover them up. Bar the windows, seal the doors; take out the food covers, and for your garbage – bag ’em and throw ’em. A pantry cabinet can seal away most of your groceries too. In addition, for other things that you don’t need to refrigerate, stow them away in the kitchen cabinets where they can remain dry.
Clean Regularly and Thoroughly
The kitchen is a primary target for all types of flies. It’s wet, it’s filled with food and leftovers, and it smells-for better or for worse.
The Solution: As much as you hate to do it, the key is to clean up NOW. Wash the dishes immediately after use or put those kitchen pans in the dishwasher if you can’t do it after cooking.
Soak up all used utensils in warm water and get back at them once you have the time (or willingness) to. Wipe out all crumbs and other food preparation leftovers (including dinner evidence) and dispose of them in a sealed compost bucket. If you can take out all the garbage accumulated for the day you’re guaranteed a fly-free home.
Follow the Light
If you are fond of watching horror movies then you probably have the right idea in mind-just substitute the undead with flies. This trick works if flies have already invaded your personal space and blowing smoke in the entire house can induce asthma and paranoia.
The Solution: Cover all windows with thick curtains and all other surfaces where light enters your house or room. Then have one door ajar so light trickles in like a hypnotic beacon to the flies – and out they go.
Pretty simple, but not all flies can be tricked so expect a few to hang around the lit area. Be ready with a fly swatter and pound away on the stragglers. If they don’t go quietly then they deserve what’s coming at them.
It’s time to call some back-up. Sure you can first try opening the door and running for your life as the pests exit your living room.
Alternatively, you can just have the professionals sort it out with their trusty pesticides.
You would need to extend your vacation to a nearby hotel, as the smell won’t easily subside.
These tips on how to get rid of flies in the house have a common theme to them: prevention is always better than cure. The minute you open your house to unwanted visitors, they can overstay their welcome. In addition, in the case of flies, things can really get nasty.
The house fly can be classified into two groups. It is a generic term that applies to the common housefly, the lesser house fly and fruit flies, all of whom may enter a dwelling. It can also refer specifically to the common housefly, Musca domestica Linnaeus. The house fly life span is explained below.
The common housefly is distributed throughout the world and is a very successful breed. Its success can be attributed to a number of factors including its adaptability and resourcefulness.
Otherwise known as a housefly, the Musca domestica Linnaeus is seen anywhere — in places and spots where there are rotting food and/or manure.
Oftentimes house flies will pick up a scent most from afar and try to seek its source. Until then, they keep on flying.
Flies are just as opportunistic when laying eggs. Rather than prepare an area for their eggs, they simply find a wet and warm area where there is some food and lay their eggs there.
Freshly laid manure is a perfect place. The cream-white eggs are laid in clusters of between 75 and 100 eggs. Within 24 hours of being laid, they will hatch into larvae (maggots).
The larvae are completely self-sufficient – another sign of this breed’s robustness and adaptability. After a few days, the larvae will move to drier areas (or the medium they were hatched into may dry out anyway).
They will then pupate and from the puparium will emerge a mini version of a fly. After about an hour, the young fly will mate if possible and then take off and start its life as a flying adult.
This, of course, is when the trouble starts.
The amount of houseflies at any given time is largely governed by temperature. A fly’s functions, including breeding, will slow as the temperature cools. It thrives and multiplies rapidly in warm to hot temperatures but doesn’t like the temperature to be too hot.
This is one of the many attributes they share with humans. Alarmingly, house flies share some other human characteristics such as the inability to see in the dark and a liking for sweet and fatty foods.
That last point may explain why they are so keen to visit our kitchens. They are less fussy than we are. They will have no problem with visiting our trash and rubbish tips looking for discarded food.
Flies often take advantage of reliable sources of food and are eternally curious – just like us.
Although they are not curious in the intellectual sense the way that we are, they do tend to explore. This behavior is simply their way of getting their next feed. They will fly around until something comes up.
Flies are responsible for spreading disease – sometimes very serious diseases. There is a universal need to keep them away from our food and food preparation areas.
A business that prepares and produces food has a legal duty in most jurisdictions to ensure cleanliness, and of course, pest control measures are taken to deal with house flies to avoid infestation.
This fly species earned such a name because they are often seen near and around horses. They are not, however, merely harmless insects. Below are some important horse fly facts.
About The Horse Fly Species
Horseflies are larger than common house flies. Their sizes normally differ about a bit under or over an inch. They often have black bodies and clear wings.
Female horse flies are really the ones to worry about because they feed on blood. They do this by using their sharp mandibles to wound horses and then lap up the blood from the wound.
Despite their name, they do not just feed on the blood of horses. They can feed on the blood of any mammal, including cattle and humans.
Horse flies are said to live and thrive where there are forests or wooded areas nearby. They may lay their eggs in water, both stagnant and running, or on moist ground and plants. There seem to be more horse flies when the temperature is warm. This means horses and humans are more prone to horse bites in the summer.
There would have been no problem if horse fly bites were as harmless as a regular mosquito bite. For horses, however, a horse fly bite can be a major source of discomfort.
Flies that gather over horses can result in numerous bites. Horses that get repeatedly bitten may lose their appetite for food and activity.
In some cases, horse flies can also transmit Equine Infectious Anemia. Aside from the obvious depletion of blood in the system, this disease can also cause general weakness, heartbeat irregularities and swelling of the chest, stomach, and legs.
In its severe form, the disease can kill the infected horse. If infected horses are not isolated and treated, other horses could get infected.
Fillies can pass the disease to their young foals through milk while other horses may get infected from sharing needles used for maintenance medications or other treatments.
What You Can Do
The problem with horse flies is that they cannot be dealt with decisively. If you decide to wipe out all the flies in sight, you may end up destroying environmental systems or harming other animals.
Spraying pesticide for example over a large area could affect or even kill other animals and plants in the area. It is also physically impossible to remove all wet and moist areas where flies could be breeding.
Even if this were possible for a group of horse owners, small environmental systems would be negatively affected.
Some homeowners resort to a variety of sticky fly traps. Since horse flies love movement, it is often a good idea to use attractive traps that can be moved around a pasture on a van or open cart.
Horse flies normally do not live in stables but it wouldn’t hurt if you made sure that stables are always clean and dry.
Horse flies are indeed a bane to horses. They are, however, even more of an inconvenience to horse owners who have to deal with irritated or sickly horses.
The tsetse African small biting flies have a peculiar life cycle, can have its population reduced in various ways, transmit the wormlike trypanosomes, and are the cause of the sleeping sickness disease as discovered by Dr. David Bruce, parasitologist and early treatment provider.
Tsetse flies may be subtle in appearance as they are similar to house flies. Like all insects, an adult tsetse fly has three sections: a head, thorax, and abdomen.
The head comprises two huge eyes on each side and a large bulb on the bottom to which is attached a forward-pointing proboscis, or the part through which blood is sucked. The large thorax comprises three combined segments, six legs, two wings, and two organs for balancing, called halteres.
The abdomen is small but increases in size as the fly consumes enough blood to weigh twice as much as its original weight. Most tsetse flies are extremely tough externally. It is difficult to crush one.
Tsetse flies are different in four distinct bodily characteristics: proboscis folded wings, hatchet cell, and branched arista hairs. A long proboscis protrudes forward and is connected to the bottom of the pest’s head by an obvious bulb.
The fly folds its two wings fully one above the other while resting. Hatchet cell refers to a cell in the center of both of a tsetse fly’s wings.
These distinct cells are so named because of their hatchet shape. The bristle-like parts of the creature’s antennae, called the arista, have branched hairs.
The tsetse fly has a peculiar life cycle. A female can only produce one egg at a time. The egg hatches inside the fly and the larva lives on a milky substance within the mother. The larva then leaves the mother and burrows into the ground.
Once in the ground, the larva forms a hard outer case in which it changes. During this period the larva feeds on stored food. It is now a pupa. After twenty to thirty days, the case is broken and an adult tsetse fly emerges.
Sleeping sickness, transmitted by the tsetse fly, is a parasitic disease that is found in areas south of the Sahara Desert as far as the Cape of Good Hope.
There are three strains of sleeping sickness, which affect man and beast. East African and West African are the two strains in humans while nagana in the form of the disease found in animals.
Infected with either of the two strains an individual will not seem plagued for one or two weeks. The victim will subsequently experience recurring fever, pains, and aches. The back of the neck will swell eventually.
This is a sign, called Winterbottom’s sign, which is used by doctors to determine the presence of the sickness. At a touch, the neck will pain. In the case of the East African strain, if it goes untreated there is swift death.
The West African strain, however, will cause a longer period of illness, as long as two to three years. In this period, the victim will experience several symptoms that will cause suffering. These include intense headaches, lack of concentration and interest, weariness during the daytime, and problems sleeping at night.