Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

by Jeremy Arnold
November 20, 2020

You probably have seen them in the last couple of months flying around. It’s the perfect time of the year for fruit flies. They’re drawn to the plant material occupying your home like fruits and vegetables bought from the grocery store. Fruit flies or specifically, Drosophila melanogaster, will continuously be present as long as they’re supplied with the optimal environment. They are extremely dependent on the temperature of their surroundings as well as the availability of water. Colder temperatures deter them. Drosophila means “lover of dew” so humid temperatures are ideal for the progression of this species.

The life of a fruit fly is extremely rapid. Within one week they are sexually mature, eventually producing hundreds of eggs just from a single pair of fruit flies. The flies will place their eggs on fruit and from there the eggs develop to maggots where they consume the fruit they were laid on. Adults thrive on rotting fruits and plants, in contrast, larvae are laid on slightly ripened/unripened fruit so they have time to develop. This is not the only area you can find Drosophila melanogaster. According to an article by Leanna Garfield posted on Business Insider, “the FDA’s sanitation standards for food processors allow for a small number of insects to remain in food.” Drosophila particles are found in many tomato products such as canned tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato juice, pizza sauce, and tomato paste. This means that other foods that contain tomato products such as ketchup, sloppy joe sauce, etc. have a high possibility of containing Drosophila offspring. That’s why some individuals acquire fruit flies in their homes without a source of fresh plant matter.

An easy way to get rid of these pesky bugs is to place apple cider vinegar into a container, wrap the top of the container in plastic wrap, seal it with a rubber band or tie of some sort, and then poke holes in it using a toothpick. The vinegar draws in the fruit flies, they climb through the holes where they then get trapped. Sometimes just using the vinegar takes a bit longer for the fruit flies to be drawn in but placing a small piece of fruit/vegetable like the black tip remaining at the end of a banana will lure fruit flies in a matter of minutes. Another easy way to get rid of these nuisances is leaving out a bowl of a vinegar/dish soap mixture that does the same thing without the need of plastic wrap. The fly gets drawn to the vinegar leaving them stuck in the mixture.