Where Do Fruit Flies Come From?

fruit flies, food, kitchen, bug
Fruit flies come from the up to 500 eggs adults lay. And, they can live off of any moist, fermented substance. (Image credit: Wikimedia commons user Mr.checker)

Fruit flies need very little to call your kitchen their “home, sweet home.”

All that they require is a moist area of fermenting stuff. That stuff can be ripened fruits or vegetables, as well as drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash bags, or cleaning rags and mops.

Fruit flies lay their eggs — up to 500 at a time — on these moist surfaces. When the larvae hatch, they feed on the surface too. Because they only feed on the surface, you probably won’t eat any of the insects if you just toss out the damaged or over-ripened parts of fruits and vegetables.

Because the flies are so teeny, they can sneak into houses as adults through window and door screens or on fruit as larvae.

To keep flies out of your kitchen, University of Kentucky entomologists recommend building a homemade flytrap. Roll a paper funnel into a jar. Pour a few ounces of cider vinegar into the jar, or put a ripe, peeled banana in it. Once you’ve caught the flies, you can kill them, or animal lovers can release the critters outdoors.

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Corey Binns lives in Northern California and writes about science, health, parenting, and social change. In addition to writing for Live Science, she's contributed to publications including Popular Science, TODAY.com, Scholastic, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review as well as others. She's also produced stories for NPR’s Science Friday and Sundance Channel. She studied biology at Brown University and earned a Master's degree in science journalism from NYU. The Association of Health Care Journalists named her a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Journalism Fellow in 2009. She has chased tornadoes and lived to tell the tale.