While fruit flies are not considered to be disease vectors, they are capable of spreading disease-producing organisms. You have to keep in mind that fruit flies often lay their eggs in moist, rotting organic material in order to reproduce. In your home, it is your trash bin, garbage disposal, drain, overripe fruit on the table, empty soda cans, and moist mop that will likely be used as a breeding site. When fruit flies get into these dirty places and come into contact with dirty things, they can be exposed to a wide range of harmful microorganisms. They then transport these tiny, unseen organisms to food-prep surfaces, exposed foods, the rim of cups, and other sensitive locations. How dangerous fruit flies can be will depend on how sanitized your home is and how protected your trash is. When fruit flies take root in your home, they are certainly going to be a nuisance, but it is important to recognize the potential for exposure to illness-causing bacteria and parasitic worms.
What Are Fruit Flies?
If you have not yet had the displeasure of dealing with a fruit fly infestation, you may not know what those tiny little red-eyed gnats swarming around your kitchen, living room, and dining room are. Allow us to introduce you. Those ⅛ inch, tan flies with the red eyes are fruit flies. They may have come in through an open window or an open door but it is more likely that they hatched from eggs that were on the fruit you recently purchased from the grocery store. Do you keep grapes, bananas, apples or some other fruit sitting in a bowl on your dining room table or kitchen island? That is likely the source of your infestation. We recommend putting produce in your refrigerator. This prevents eggs from hatching. When you take the fruit out, wash it before eating it and you could dislodge any eggs that are present. But, if you don't, you probably won't notice that you ate them and you aren't going to get sick from eating fruit fly eggs. Those flies aren't dangerous until they climb around on dirty things.
What Do I Do About Fruit Flies?
The best way to deal with fruit flies is to proactively work to prevent fruit flies from taking root in your home. If you don't have a fruit fly infestation yet, consider these prevention tips:
- Refrigerate fruits and vegetables. If produce is left out and there are fruit fly eggs on them, it can lead to an infestation.
- If you have a recycling bin, make sure it is put outside your home. Fruit flies will reproduce like crazy in a pile of empty soda cans and juice bottles.
- If you notice wounds on your fruits or vegetables, cut the area off and put it in a plastic bag.
- Dispose of the plastic bag in your exterior receptacles.
- Clean spills up immediately and make sure you don't have any rotting fruit or vegetables hiding somewhere. Thousands of fruit flies can be produced by a potato that rolled behind an object in your pantry.
- Be aware that fermenting liquids, such as beer and wine, can provide the right conditions for breeding. If a cup that contained alcohol sits for a week, you could be in trouble.
- Since fruit flies can come in from the outside of your home, a detailed inspection of your door and window screens is vital. Repair any holes, no matter how small and seal even the tiniest of gaps around the frame.
If you already have a fruit fly infestation, the first step is to eliminate breeding areas. If fruit flies are breeding in a rotting fruit or vegetable, you may be able to stop the cycle of reproduction by throwing the item out and doing a deep cleaning of your kitchen. Also, make sure that your interior trash receptacle has a cover that seals completely or put your trash outside until the infestation has been resolved. Slowly, those fruit flies will begin to die off.
It can be a lot of work trying to resolve a fruit fly infestation. An easier solution is to seek the aid of a licensed pest professional. If you live in the Greater Pittsburgh area, keep in mind that Witt Pest Management has over a century of experience dealing with pest problems. We're Pittsburgh's oldest and most advanced pest control provider. Reach out to us for immediate assistance.