What Causes Fruit Flies?


Fruit flies are attracted to fermenting organic matter, such as overripe or rotting fruits and vegetables. Fruit flies measure about 1/8 inch long and have red eyes. They usually infest homes in the late summer or fall and are most likely to appear in your kitchen. Fruit flies can be a nuisance, but preventing and eradicating infestations is not difficult.

Life Cycle

  • Adult fruit flies lay about 500 eggs near fermenting organic material, such as a rotting garbage, rotting potato or overripe banana. The eggs hatch into larvae in 24 to 30 hours and feed on the organic material. Larvae transform into pupae and then emerge as adult fruit flies, who mate within two days. Fruit flies typically take one to two weeks to complete their life cycle, depending on the temperature. Because fruit flies reproduce so quickly, locating the source of an infestation is important.

Breeding Locations

  • A fruit fly infestation may be caused by overripe or rotting produce, such as onions, bananas, apples or potatoes. Fruit flies are also attracted to soda, cider and fruit juices, empty drink cans or bottles that contain residue, baked goods that contain yeast, food residue in empty containers, garbage or dirty dishcloths. Fruit flies sometimes breed in garbage disposals, clogged or filmy drains, dirty water and dirty mops. Fruit flies may also breed in an outside garden and move inside.

Eliminating Infestations

  • If you can identify the source of the fruit flies, such as a rotting tomato, discarding the source may eliminate an infestation. If you aren't sure where fruit flies are breeding, clean the area and discard any suspect produce. Tape plastic film over drains and check them after a day; if you see fruit flies, they are breeding in that drain. Eliminate fruit flies in a drain by scrubbing it with a stiff brush or slowly pouring boiling water down the sides of the drain. Trap adult flies by pouring a few ounces of cider vinegar into a jar and covering the jar with a paper funnel rolled from notebook paper.


  • Prevent fruit fly infestations by discarding, eating or refrigerating ripe fruit. Keep your kitchen, pantry and refrigerator clean to ensure that produce items are not forgotten or misplaced. Clean up spills and sweep and mop regularly. Rinse containers before placing them in a recycling bin, and empty the recycling bin and trash frequently. Make sure doors and windows have screens. If you can fruits and vegetables or make beer, cider or wine, make sure containers are completely sealed.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit ULTRA F/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

    Late summer and early fall are the height of harvest for most gardens and backyard orchards, but the bounty of fruit and...

  • How to Get Rid of Gnats

    Get rid of gnats, such as fruit flies, drain flies and biting gnats, using sanitation, mechanical and chemical control methods.

  • How to Keep Fruit Flies Away

    If you're plagued by small gnatlike flies in your kitchen, chances are good that the tiny pests are fruit flies. Although fruit...

  • Fruit Flies in the Fridge

    Fruit flies are small flying insects that thrive in kitchens that stock fresh produce. They have tan bodies with black bottoms and...

  • What Are These Little Flies in My House?

    Most homeowners have had to struggle with indoor flies at one time or another. Several types of flies can invade your home....

  • What Causes Horse Flies?

    Horse flies are large flies that don't bother anyone for most of the year. They feed on nectar and help pollinate plants....

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!