1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

How Fruit Flies Magically Appear In Your Kitchen

By

Where do fruit flies come from?

Where do fruit flies come from?

Jack Dykinga, Agricultural Research Service, USDA

"Where the heck did all these fruit flies from from?!" Have you ever found your kitchen teeming with fruit flies that seemed to appear out of nowhere? These tiny nuisances can quickly multiply in number, and be tough to get rid of once they're around. So how did these fruit flies get in your kitchen? Contrary to popular belief, this isn't a case of spontaneous generation.

Fruit flies are built to find fermenting fruit. Though small, they can detect the smell of ripe fruits and vegetables from a good distance away. If there's a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter, there's probably a fruit fly or two looking for a way into your home to get to it. Because these insects are so tiny, they can get in through window screens or crevices around windows or doors. Once inside, they reproduce. Before you know it, you've got yourself a full-fledged fruit fly infestation (say that 5 times fast!).

Sometimes, fruit flies hitch a ride into your home on fruits or vegetables. Fruit flies lay eggs on the skin of very ripe or fermenting fruit. Those bananas you brought home from the grocery store may already harbor a new generation of fruit flies. If you let your tomatoes over ripen on the vine before picking them, you may be harvesting fruit fly eggs along with your crop. Unrefrigerated fruit, whether its on display in the grocery store, still in the garden, or sitting in a bowl on your kitchen table, may attract fruit flies.

Fruit flies have notoriously fast life cycles; they can go from egg to adult in just 8 days. That means one overly ripe tomato left unused on your counter can give rise to a small fruit fly swarm within a week. Fruit flies are also known for their persistence once indoors. They don't even need fruit to keep reproducing. Fruit flies can breed in the slime layer inside slow-draining plumbing, or on an old, sour mop or sponge.

Have a fruit fly infestation now? Try making a vinegar trap to catch breeding adults.

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Insects
  4. Insects & Society
  5. Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.