What Do Fruit Flies Do? Exploring These Tiny Pests

Fruit flies are tiny pests that can be found in households across the world. While their size may be small, their presence can be quite annoying. These insects are often found hovering around fruits and vegetables in your kitchen or trash, and they can be tough to get rid of. In this article, we will explore what fruit flies are, what they do, and how to prevent and get rid of them.

What are Fruit Flies?

Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are small flies, measuring about ⅛ inch in length. They have distinctive red eyes and a tan thorax with black stripes. Fruit flies are attracted to fermenting fruits and vegetables and lay their eggs on these materials. Their larvae hatch within a day, and the cycle repeats, leading to an infestation if left unchecked.

Where are Fruit Flies Found?

Fruit flies are commonly found in households, grocery stores, restaurants, and other commercial kitchens where there is a high likelihood of finding overripe or fermenting fruits and vegetables. They can also be found near drains, garbage disposals, or other areas where food debris accumulates.

What Do Fruit Flies Eat?

As their name suggests, fruit flies primarily feed on fermenting fruits and vegetables. They are especially attracted to overripe produce that has begun to decay. In addition to fruits and vegetables, fruit flies can also feed on other organic matter, such as decaying plant matter and yeast.

How Do Fruit Flies Reproduce?

Fruit flies reproduce quickly, with females laying hundreds of eggs at a time. The eggs hatch within a day or two, and the larvae feed on the fermenting material until they pupate. Within a week, adult fruit flies emerge from the pupae and begin the cycle again. In the right conditions, fruit fly populations can explode quickly, making them a tough pest to control.

What Are the Environmental Conditions for Fruit Flies to Thrive?

Fruit flies thrive in warm, humid environments with plenty of fermenting organic matter to feed on. They prefer to lay their eggs on decaying fruits and vegetables, which provide an ideal environment for their larvae to develop. Fruit flies are especially active during the summer months, making infestations more common during this time.

How Long Do Fruit Flies Live?

Fruit flies have a relatively short lifespan, living only a few weeks on average. However, their rapid reproductive cycle allows them to quickly build up in numbers and become a nuisance.

Preventing and Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

Preventing and getting rid of fruit flies requires eliminating their breeding and feeding grounds. Here are some tips for getting rid of fruit flies:

Eliminate Overripe Fruits and Vegetables

Throw away any overripe fruits and vegetables, as they provide a breeding ground for fruit flies. Make sure to check for any hidden produce in cupboards or pantries.

Clean Your Kitchen

Clean your kitchen regularly, paying special attention to areas near sinks and garbage cans where food debris can accumulate. Use a bleach solution to clean surfaces, as fruit flies are attracted to sugary substances.

Cover and Store Produce

Keep produce covered and stored in the refrigerator or airtight containers to prevent fruit fly access. This is especially important for produce that is past its prime.

Use Traps

Use fruit fly traps to catch adult flies. These traps use a sweet liquid to lure flies in and contain them. You can buy commercial traps or make your own using apple cider vinegar or red wine.

The Bottom Line

Fruit flies may be small, but they can be a big annoyance if left unchecked. By understanding their behavior and taking preventive measures, you can keep fruit fly populations low and your home or business fruit fly-free.

Common Questions and Answers

  • Q: What are fruit flies attracted to?
  • A: Fruit flies are attracted to fermenting fruits and vegetables, as well as sugary and organic substances.
  • Q: Can fruit flies make you sick?
  • A: While fruit flies are not known to transmit diseases to humans, their presence can be unsanitary and contribute to food spoilage.
  • Q: How do fruit flies enter your home?
  • A: Fruit flies can enter your home through open doors and windows or by hitching a ride on produce or other items brought into the home.
  • Q: How long does it take for fruit flies to reproduce?
  • A: Female fruit flies can lay hundreds of eggs at a time, and the eggs hatch within a day or two, leading to rapid population growth if left unchecked.
  • Q: Are fruit fly traps effective?
  • A: Fruit fly traps can be effective in catching adult flies, but they do not eliminate the source of the infestation.


  • University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. (n.d.). Fruit Flies. Retrieved May 5, 2021, from https://ucanr.edu/sites/fruitfly/
  • The Spruce. (2020, August 20). How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in 5 Easy Steps. Retrieved May 5, 2021, from https://www.thespruce.com/get-rid-of-fruit-flies-2656486
  • Harvard University, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. (n.d.). Drosophila or Fruit Flies. Retrieved May 5, 2021, from https://www.oeb.harvard.edu/research/faculty/beetles-and-flies/drosophila-or-fruit-flies

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