Mosquitoes flying around

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in the House

March 27, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Summer brings ripe tomatoes, fresh-squeezed lemonades, and gentle breezes through open windows. Unfortunately, with these seasonal perks comes the arrival of an invasive and persistent household pest—fruit flies in the house. Common fruit flies tend to come out of nowhere, suddenly invading your kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, basement, or pantry. Because of their ability to reproduce rapidly and their intense love of human foods, they can overwhelm homeowners seemingly overnight. If you’re facing a fruit fly infestation in your house, read this comprehensive guide to learn everything you need to know about how to get rid of them quickly and efficiently.

Group of fruit flies on a lime slice

What attracts fruit flies to the house? 

The number one cause of fruit flies in the home is ripe, rotting, or decaying fruit and produce that are left out. They are also known to be drawn to fermented items like beer, liquor, and wine that are left open. Some fruit flies also breed and develop in garbage disposals, trash cans, mop buckets, and gunky drains with fermenting build-up. Fruit flies enter the home through cracks, loose seals around doors or windows, or eggs laid in a piece of produce you bring in unknowingly.

Why are there so many fruit flies in my house all of a sudden?

It can happen so fast. One minute your home is fly-free, and the next minute your home is overrun with fruit flies. This immediate shift is mainly because of fruit flies’ rapid-speed breeding and development. Fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs at a time. They go through four life stages and can live on average for four to five weeks. Because the eggs, larvae, and pupae are small, you typically don’t notice them during their developmental stage and only see them once they reach maturity.

How long does a fruit fly infestation last? 

When fruit fly infestations are addressed quickly, they typically last a few days to a few weeks. The length of a fruit fly infestation is affected by how much access they have to food, water, and the right conditions to breed. When these things are eliminated, fruit flies can’t reproduce and will die out.

Will a fruit fly infestation go away on its own?

Unfortunately, probably not, especially if the fruit flies have steady access to food sources. Even if the adult fruit flies die, new fruit flies may continue to show up every day if you don’t address the food source.

The best way to get rid of fruit flies 

The crucial factor to focus on when getting rid of fruit flies is finding their food source and where they’re breeding. To get rid of fruit flies, you need to eliminate their ability to reproduce and grow. Throw away any overly ripe fruits. Take the trash out of your house immediately. Seal your produce in airtight containers and store them in the refrigerator. Keep your drains and garbage disposals clean and dry. Make a habit of regularly taking out your trash, particularly any waste that includes food particles. If you enjoy a fresh breeze indoors, ensure you have properly sealed mesh screens on your windows and doors.

Group of fruit flies on lemon fruit

Fruit fly FAQs 

What are fruit flies? 

Fruit flies are defined as any two-winged insect in the Trypetidae or Drosophilidae family with larvae that feed on fruit or other vegetative matter. They are small, brown, and drawn to fermenting natural sugars and warm temperatures.

Do fruit flies bite? 

No, fruit flies do not bite people. They lack the piercing and sucking mouth parts of typical blood-feeding flies. If you’re experiencing bites from flies in your home, they are a different species.

Can fruit flies spread diseases? 

Fruit flies are not heavily associated with any specific illnesses. However, they can transfer germs from dirty to clean surfaces.

What’s the difference between fruit flies and regular flies? 

House flies are dark gray, oval, and between ⅛ and ¼ inch long. Fruit flies are brownish-tan, narrow-bodied, and only reach up to ⅛ of an inch long. Regular flies can spread more diseases, while fruit flies are more likely to infest your fresh produce.

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