When the weather changes, so does the level of pest activity. With colder weather, we would expect pest activity to slow down. This is not necessarily true with fruit flies. With a food source and somewhere to set up shop, fruit flies can even thrive during winter months. The fruit fly has proven an interesting study, providing important information related to the evolutionary process of sexual selection.

Reproduction in Fruit Flies

According to an article found in Science Daily, fruit flies produce over 2-inches of sperm, 23 times longer than its body, and over 1,000 times longer than human sperm. Now, that is some extreme sperm. Yet it wasn’t always that way.

Sexual selection due to female promiscuity increased competition among males, which became the stimulus for the lengthier sperm. The length of the sperm was found to be influenced by the female’s preference for larger, more robust males, thus augmenting their evolutionary progress. Smaller fruit flies with smaller sperms were rejected. A perfect example of “survival of the fittest.”

Since the sperm is usually smaller than the eggs, males could produce more of them increasing the likelihood of successful fertilization, especially when the females mate with several males.

Genetics and Reproduction Cycle

Fruit flies only possess 4 chromosomes. Their gene makeup is similar to that of a human making it possible to use them as subjects to experiment with while searching for solutions to human conditions.

Fruit flies lay approximately 100 eggs every day, enabling a rapid reproduction cycle. Eggs are usually laid in rotting fruit or vegetables and in a short time a new adult emerges. The female will lay around 2,000 eggs in her lifetime.

Fruit Flies in the House

Often you will see fruit flies buzzing around near bowls of fruits and vegetables. Yeast products are a powerful attractant; hence one reason fruit flies are a nuisance in restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages. Fruit flies won’t burrow into unripe fruits and vegetables but will hover nearby waiting for fermentation to happen. It is advisable to wash and rinse possible fruit fly eggs from fruits and vegetables when you get them home. If the eggs are allowed to hatch, the babies will tunnel into old bananas and gobble up the bacteria and yeast they need to grow and produce an endless colony of fruit flies. Adults feed on the yeast byproducts found in beer in wine. Sometimes fruit flies take up residence in drains that are not often used or haven’t been cleaned for a while. Important IPM (Integrated Pest Management) principles include the pest control operator and the customer to work in conjunction with each other in the elimination of pests. Whether you’re a restaurant or a residence, certain precautions should be diligently and relentlessly pursued. Place produce such as onions, potatoes and even bananas and apples in the walk-in after a thorough wash and rinse. Unsuspecting consumers often buy fruits and vegetables that already have several hundred eggs waiting to hatch and infest your kitchen.

Alleviate or Prevent Infestation

  • On a daily basis, pour boiling water down all drains. This helps remove the crud that gets stuck in the trap. Simply using bleach in drains will not provide a long-term solution.
  • Don’t store onions and potatoes near each other. Onions release a gas that cause potatoes to ripen and sprout prematurely. When onions and potatoes are stored near each other, a pheromone is released that attracts fruit flies. Instead, place washed and rinsed potatoes and onions in the refrigerator (they get sweeter this way, too) or walk-in if you’re a restaurant.
  • Fruit flies find apple-cider vinegar a strong attractant. While waiting for your pest control operator to arrive, place ¼ cup of apple-cider vinegar in a small container. Cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap and watch as unsuspecting fruit flies are lured to their demise.

For more valuable tips on controlling fruit flies be sure to contact Miller Pest and Termite with any questions regarding pest management solutions you need. We look forward to hearing from you!