Fruit flies, vinegar flies, or Drosophila melanogaster – they all refer to the same thing. It refers to the fly that is common in homes, restaurants, gardens, and supermarkets, among other places. While there are many species, most of them share almost the same physical characteristics. When they are adults, they have a length of 1/8 inch and they have red eyes. The color of the front body is tan while the back is black. They also have a pair of antennae, although they are almost impossible to see because they are small. They also have three pairs of legs and a pair of wings.
Fruit Fly’s Habitat
Drosophila, the genus name of fruit fly, literally translates to lover of dew, which will give you an idea of where it thrives. They live not only in the garden, but even in the kitchen and even in the supermarkets. They love ripe fruits and vegetables. They are also common in the garbage disposal, drainage, trash cans, and empty bottles. As long as there is moist or any fermenting material, there is also a high likelihood that there will be fruit flies.
Identifying Fruit Fly’s Damage
Fruit flies can have a wide array of hosts plants, but they are more common in decaying fruits and vegetables, such a peach, banana, apples, pears, nectarines, eggplant, and tomatoes. They can also be present in different plants as long as there is garbage or decaying fermentation nearby. They can also be present in native and ornamental plants.
The following are some of the common signs that fruit flies are present:
- If there are fruit flies in the kitchen, especially near the trash cans, this is one of the most common indications that they are also present in the garden, and hence, affecting your plants.
- The presence of fruit fly maggots, on the other hand, can be more challenging to identify. This is because they are not visible outside the host plant. You need to cut the fruits or vegetables because the maggots live inside.
Results of Infestation
Because they often lay their eggs in ripe fruits and vegetables, the latter will also be the ones to show the most visible signs of damages. The fruit where it lives will most likely end up being soft or mushy. More often than not, the economic impact is not that severe. Nonetheless, fruit flies can be a nuisance, especially in the kitchen or in restaurants.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
Natural and Organic Solutions
Below are some of the best ways to prevent and control of fruit flies not only in the garden, but even inside the house:
- Keeping the surroundings clean is the most effective preventive measure. Be sure to empty the trash bins all the time. Do not let the dishes sit in the sink for a long time. Also, get rid of empty bottles, especially of liquor and juices. Take out decaying vegetation in the garden, especially ripe fruits and vegetables that fell from their tree. See to it as well that there is no stagnant water in the garden. Establishing proper drainage is necessary since fruit flies love moist environments.
- You will also benefit from mowing the lawn often. As much as possible, the grass should not be tall as this can encourage fruit flies, especially when there is decaying vegetation.
- There are also several traps that can deliver effectiveness for fruit flies. Vinegar trap is one of the simplest solutions that will work. All that you need is to combine apple cider vinegar, water, and dish soap. Place it in a container where fruit flies are common. Its smell will attract the flies. The same effect can be expected from red wine. Even cheap wines will emit an odor that fruit flies won’t like. You can also use fly light traps. They use electrical charges to kill flies that hover around the light.
- Planting basil can also do wonders when it comes to getting rid of fruit flies. You can grow it in a pot and place it indoors, especially near fresh fruits. In the same way, you can plant basil in the garden near common host plants for fruit flies.
- If fruit flies are indoors, you can also use cedar wood as a natural way to repel fruit flies. They emit a strong scent that will keep the flies away.
- Fruit bagging will also be an effective solution in the garden. This works best for large fruits. It is one of the best organic alternatives to the use of pesticides. You can do this early on as it will be too late when the fruit ripens and once infestation starts.
- Proper management of compost is also essential. With this, one thing that you need to do is to turn or aerate the compost to eliminate fruit flies in the garden.
- The use of bacterial digesters is another promising solution for the elimination of fruit flies. They have bacteria and essential enzymes that will kill the eggs of fruit flies even before they hatch.
There are certain chemicals that will be effective in killing fruit flies. Among others, one of the most common active ingredients is carbaryl. Sevin is one of the most popular insecticides that contain this chemical. However, keep in mind that repetitive use of this insecticide is not recommended. Try to alternate it with insecticides that contain other active ingredients. Insecticides that contain pyrethrin is also effective. Nonetheless, this will work only when killing adult fruit flies and not their eggs.