Managing Fruit Flies (home and business)

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The key to small fruit fly control is elimination of larval food and developmental sites.

Sanitation

Cleaning the home or business will have the most dramatic effect on fruit fly reproduction. The presence of adult flies usually means that larvae are developing in some nearby fermenting material. This could be in decaying fruits or vegetables on the counter, in the disposal system, cracks and crevices, sink drains, floor drains, dumpsters, garbage cans, lockers, or even vending machines. Think of where fruits or fruit juices, vegetables (like onions and potatoes), beer, liquor, fruit syrups, vinegars and condiments have spilled or are being stored. Clean the area with detergents, and hot water. Remove the residual layers of food spills and throw out the decaying material in tight trash bags and put them in a trash can outdoors. Detailed cleaning will be necessary to remove the hidden breeding sites.

Exclusion

Fruit flies do live outdoors in large numbers during the summer and fall months. Keeping doors closed during days when the wind is low will help reduce invaders. Breezy days make it difficult for the small flies to get around. If the flies are coming from outdoors, reducing the screen mesh size can be helpful because most species can penetrate ordinary screens. Move waste bins and dumpsters further from any entrances or windows.

Trapping

The number of adults can be reduced through the use of baited bottle traps with special tops which allow access, but prevent escape. These include the GreenWay Fruit Fly Traps. Place as many traps as convenient to accomplish the removal in a day or two. The more you use, the quicker you will remove adult flies. Insect light traps do not effectively trap adult flies, although you can catch the occasional one.

Pesticide

Adults can be easily killed with an appropriately labeled aerosol, or ULV application containing 0.5% pryethrin. However, such relief will only be temporary, lasting only until new adults emerge, unless proper sanitation has been practiced. Liquid insecticides are not allowed in drains and they have only temporary effects as well.

Microbial-based drain cleaners such as DrainGel™ InVade Bio Foam™ are used to break down organic matter in drains and other potential breeding sites. This helps remove material they can breed in.

A good program will use all the strategies listed above.

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