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Fruit Flies, They Seem to Magically Appear, Here Are The Facts

The first one is almost always shooed away or squished without further thought, but it never stops there. A second fruit fly quickly follows. Before you know it, these hovering menaces seem to be everywhere.  Your witch-like neighbor may be casting spells on you, but they are unrelated to fruit flies. Fruit flies, they seem to magically appear, here are the facts.

fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) that magically appears
Fruit Fly (Drosophila Melanogaster)

Speedy Fast Reproduction

It really is one of those things where once you see one, it is probably too late – for prevention anyway. You may get lucky and have a random straggler, but here are the quick stats on their reproductive capabilities:

  • Females may produce 30-50 eggs per day at room temperature
  • A female may produce 500-2000 eggs in a lifetime
  • Eggs can hatch in just 12 hours
  • Hatched fruit fly larva can reach adulthood in 10-14 days

The numbers don’t lie. A pair of fruit flies can more than populate a structure in a very short time. Therefore, if you see a fruit fly drunkenly flying around, find the breeding source and eliminate it quickly.

Short Life Span

Their days are numbered – much more so than we can relate to. Because of this, they know they don’t have time to dawdle, they need to get right to work eating and reproducing. They quickly hunt down food sources and establish populations. They only get to live for 30-50 days, so they have to make the most of it.

As a side note, this short life span has been quite beneficial to us as human folk. It plays into the 3 reasons fruit flies have been beneficial in genetic research:

  1. Since generations occur in short intervals, genetic change over time can be observed much quicker in fruit flies than other species.
  2. Genetic density – Fruit flies have 14,000 genes flying around in that little red speck compared to humans at 24,000. There are plenty of genes to study.
  3. Genetic relevance – 75% of the genes that cause disease in humans are in fruit flies.

While the short life span can be both a pro and a con, it doesn’t mean they need protection. They are not and will never be endangered. Don’t feel indebted to them because of their research assistance. When they are invading your space, it is important to understand they are originating in filthy areas where they are likely to bring pathogens. If you see fruit flies, find the source, and eliminate it along with them.

Breeding Grounds

Speaking of their filthy breeding grounds, this is a key to them magically appearing. They are called fruit flies but aren’t particularly eating straight fruit. They are hunting for fungus and rot that occurs in fermenting fruit. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be fruit. Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and other foods can produce the right breeding conditions as well. Fruit fly breeding grounds are likely to include:

  • Drains
  • Rubbish receptacle slime
  • Disposals
  • Mostly empty bottles
  • Hidden spaces where food may fall unnoticed and rot

Because their breeding grounds are out of sight, the initial stages of the fruit fly population are likely to go unnoticed. They can lay eggs, hatch into larva and develop into adults all before they have to come into sight. When the first wave of fruit flies go flying around hunting for a reproductive partner or more food to eat, the population is well established.

Drinking Habits

While completely irrelevant to their appearance, their drinking habits are interesting enough to be aware of. First, they share similar beer tastes as humans. A Standford experiment found fruit flies are more attracted to beers with fruitier flavors much like the general human preference. Second, a 2012 study done at the University of California found that fruit flies that had been rejected by their targeted female reproductive partner would turn to drinking. They would drink 4 times as much alcohol as their fruit fly counterparts that were successful at the reproduction.

What To Do When They Magically Appear

Most importantly, you need to find and remove the source. In some cases, it can be hard to find. In others, it may be easy to identify, but hard to solve (in a drain for example). A few simple tips on controlling fruit flies can be found here.

If you are struggling to find the source or solve the issue, the experts at Rove Pest Control are here to help. Our technicians can address both hard to reach sources and annoying, disease-carrying adults.