How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Learn how to get rid of fruit flies, where infestations come from, and discover the best fruit fly control products

Steps to Get Rid Of Fruit Flies

The first step in order to get rid of Fruit Flies in the kitchen or elsewhere is to have proper sanitation. It is important to discover where they are coming from and eliminate the source. It is critical to eliminate any breeding sources.

Finally, we go go over the best practices for fruit fly control and the best fruit fly control products.

Fruit Fly Sources - Where They Come From

Fruit flies are common in homes, restaurants, stores, and anywhere that food can spoil or ferment. Adults are about 1/8 inch long, and one of their easy-to-spot features is their red eyes. The front part of their body is tan, and the rear part is black. Fruit flies lay eggs on or near the surface of rotting foods or other moist, organic material. The reproductive potential of fruit flies is enormous. The average female fruit fly will lay about 500 eggs in her brief lifetime. Their complete lifecycle from egg to adult takes only about a week.

Fruit Flies are commonly associated with fermenting fruits and vegetables. They can quickly develop in over-ripe fruits and vegetables. You may find them fermenting liquid at the bottom of garbage cans, rotting onions or potatoes, or a dirty mop. They may accumulate under refrigerators and any moist organic material in an area.

Fruit flies are primarily a nuisance. They do, however, have the potential to contaminate food with bacteria and other disease-producing organisms. Many people confuse fruit flies with other small types of flies such as Drain Flies, Phorid Flies, or Sphaerocerid Flies. The different breeding sources will help determine which ones you have and where the fruit fly infestations are coming from.

Fruit Fly Identification


  • Fruit flies are small about 1/8-inch in length including the wings.
  • A key identifying character of a Fruit Fly is its bright red eyes.
  • The Fruit fly is about one third the size of the filth or house fly.
  • Body-color is usually a light yellow to tan color.
  • Many people confuse fruit flies with other small types of flies such as Drain Flies, Phorid Flies, or Sphaerocerid Flies. The different breeding sources will help determine which ones you have.
  • Many people confuse fruit flies with other small types of flies such as Drain Flies, Phorid Flies, or Sphaerocerid Flies. The different breeding sources will help determine which ones you have.

Get Rid Of Fruit Flies

Fruit Fly Control: Exclusion & Sanitation

  • The first step to getting rid of Fruit Flies in the kitchen or elsewhere is to have proper sanitation. It is critical to eliminate any breeding sources.
  • Clean garbage cans and dumpsters. They should have tight lids.
  • Ripened fruit should be eaten or refrigerated.
  • Get rid of any extra moisture with proper drainage.
  • Use screens on building openings.
  • Re-grout tiles in bathrooms and kitchens; this will prevent any water leakage in the walls and possible fruit fly breeding sources.
  • As an extra step, use UltraFloor Defender, an all-natural cleaner with bacteria cultures to break down grease buildup. Using UltraFloor Defender would be very beneficial in commercial kitchens.

Fruit Fly Inspection ( Where Fruit Fly Infestations Come From )

To begin to inspect where fruit fly infestations come from, look first for fruit fly sources in areas where vegetables or fruits are stored outside refrigeration. Also, look for fruit fly sources in garbage cans, under appliances, and recycling bins. Even a little-spilled juice behind an appliance can contribute to their breeding. When searching for fruit fly breeding sources, remember that the larva can only survive in decaying organic matter that is moist. All fruit fly infestations' stages depend on the organic debris to complete the complete fruit fly cycle. Whenever possible, food and materials on which fruit flies can lay their eggs must be removed.

Killing adult fruit flies will reduce infestation, but the elimination of fruit fly breeding areas is necessary for proper management.

Fruit Flies are not only the only small flies that you may see in your kitchen area. If you see a small fly or gnat type of fly, it may not be coming from the drains. So using a typical enzyme drain treatment like Invade Bio Drain Treatment may not work if they are not coming from the drains. They could be coming from various sources like rotten fruit, garbage, or other damp organic matter.

Fruit Fly Traps would also not work for other small flies such as Drain Flies, Phorid Flies, or Sphaerocerid Flies.

Breeding Sources of Drain Flies, Fruit Flies, Phorid Flies, and Sphaerocerid Flies

Below is a list of possible breeding sources for various small flies found in kitchen areas and other breeding areas. If you understand the various breeding sources, you can manage these flies with greater success.

Drain flies: Drain flies can breed in sewers, drains, septic tanks, and contaminated soil from sewage.

Fruit flies: You can find Fruit flies flying around fruits and vegetables, both fresh and rotten. They can also be found around any moist organic matter and garbage.

Phorid Flies: Phorid flies are also found in contaminated soils from garbage, drains, and garbage. They can be found in human cadavers.

Sphaerocerid Flies: These small flies breed in rotting fruits and vegetables, garbage, and drains.

Residential Home Inspection

  • Rotting fruits of vegetables stored on the counter.
  • Under refrigerators or locations where fruit or vegetable juice may have spilled.
  • Moist liquid under garbage cans, under trash bags.
  • Sink drains
  • In drip condensation pans under the refrigerator
  • Near kick plate under counters
  • Under loose tile or counter tiles
  • Fruit juice and soda cans in recycle bins
  • Terrariums

Restaurants and Bars Inspection

  • Rotting fruits of vegetables stored on the counter
  • Under the bar counter
  • Bar mats
  • Sink drains
  • Floor Drains
  • Residual buildup around the base of equipment legs
  • Mops and buckets
  • Grease or food trapped in cracks of equipment
  • Elevator pits

Fruit Fly Traps

Vector 960 Fruit Fly Traps and Invite Fruit Fly Traps are professional fruit fly traps on the market. They are ready to use traps with special attractants to lure the Fruit flies into the traps and get caught. If you prefer to make fruit fly traps( using a special fruit fly lure and glue boards), use Invite Fruit Fly Lure.

Eco-Friendly Fruit Fly Products

Fruit Fly Destroyer Kit-Breaks the life cycle of a fruit fly when the fruit fly digests the liquid bacteria. Use it on mop heads, around garbage cans, under-sink areas, around drain covers, and any other locations (non-food items) that the fruit fly would land.

Outbreak Defender is made from food-grade materials with a peppermint fragrance. It will kill fruit flies in the air. Spraying Outbreak Defender around food is safe. Spray Outbreak Defender over a group of fruit flies to kill them on contact.

Fruit Fly Control - Insecticide Aerosols

(Pyrethrin spray ) can be used as a quick kill, reducing populations of flying insects. Use a pyrethrin space spray such as Stryker 54, CB 80 Pyrethrin Aerosol, or PT 565.

You can use pyrethrins in an automatic dispenser that dispenses every 15 minutes. On Time, SureKill LD-44T, or Purge III Metered Aerosols or will last thirty days in an automatic aerosol dispenser. All metered aerosols are only labeled for commercial establishments. Restaurant Fly Control will give you some more recommendations.

Gentrol Aerosol is an IGR in a convenient aerosol can. An IGR (insect growth regulator) will prevent complete fruit fly development. This aerosol can be sprayed around possible breeding sources such as around plants, floor mats, under appliances, and into drains.

Drain Treatments - Get Rid Of Possible Sources

You may find fruit fly larvae feeding on the sides of your drains. To investigate this possibility, put some clear tape over the top of a dry drain with some holes in it for airflow. If the flies get stuck on the tape, you have located a source.
Using bleach is not effective to break up organic build-up. Use drain treatment like Invade Bio Drain Gel to eliminate any possible breeding sources.

Fruit Fly Control - Residual Insecticides

Cyper WSP or Avest CS are residual insecticide concentrates that yield several gallons of finished solution. Spray surfaces where fruit flies would land and rest sprayed once a month. These insecticides would also treat other types of flies. Both products have a broad label for general pest control.
If you are looking for fogging insecticides and fogger equipment we have a wide assortment.

Fruit Fly Biology and Habits

  • Fruit flies comprise several different species belonging to the genus Drosophila. The most common species encountered in homes and other structures is the D.melanogaster. Fruit flies are also identified as pomace flies or vinegar flies. These pests can be found throughout the world, in homes, food processing plants, warehouses, grocery stores, wineries, restaurants, and other structures.
  • The fruit fly is among the smallest flies found in homes.
  • Many homeowners often encounter fruit flies in and about their kitchens and near garbage storage areas at the end of the summer season.
  • Fruit flies are generally found hovering around decaying vegetation and overripe fruit. The fruit fly is most often found hovering around the overly ripe fruit. Fermenting materials, such as leftover beer or soft drinks, also are a favorite food of fruit flies. Fruit flies are often found in the kitchen, especially when vegetable or fruit materials are present after major home canning efforts.
  • Pomace flies look like Fruit flies and may infest homes. However, the breeding source maybe something like a forgotten mop pail or an open sewer drain.
  • Because fruit flies frequent such unsanitary areas like garbage, it could potentially carry disease-causing bacteria onto food products.
  • Like all flies, the fruit fly develops by complete metamorphosis. Eggs are laid near or on top of attractants (fermenting materials) such as beverages, decaying fruit and vegetable matter, garbage, or slime in drains. The fruit fly is attracted to an area where moisture has accumulated, including mops and wet rags. The larvae emerge from the eggs and feed near the surface of the fermenting material for 5-6 days.
  • This surface-feeding characteristic of the fruit fly larvae is significant because damaged or over-ripened portions of fruits and vegetables can be cut off without having to discard the remainder for fear of retaining any developing larvae. However, eating larvae can cause intestinal discomfort and diarrhea. For this reason, health professionals and sanitarians are concerned when fruit flies are found infesting facilities where food is prepared, processed, or served.
  • Newly-emerged fruit fly adults are attracted to lights, but egg-laying females will not leave fermenting materials. The fruit fly larvae then crawl to drier areas of the food source or even out of the food source to pupate. Under ideal conditions, the fruit fly's life cycle, from egg to adult, can be completed in as little as eight days. The life cycle from egg to adult is approximately ten days.

Key Takeaway

It's not overly complicated. Finding and eliminating the source where fruit flies are feeding and laying eggs will eliminate the problem.

That is easer said than done but it should be your focus.

Prevent Fruit Flies

fruit flies
  • Fruit flies are especially attracted to ripened fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. Since they can breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash bins, mops, and cleaning rags, perform a complete inspection. All they need is a moist film of fermenting material to start breeding.

  • The best fruit fly prevention is to eliminate sources of attraction. Ripened fruit and produce should be eaten, discarded, or refrigerated. Cracked or damaged fruit should be thrown out.

  • A decaying potato or onion or a juice spill under a refrigerator can breed thousands of fruit flies. Be sure to check and clean recycling bins and trash cans as well. Be sure that window screens and screen doors fit tightly and that the screen is not ripped or torn.

  • The adults can also fly in from outside through poorly fitted window screens and doors, so keep screens tight.

  • Fruit Flies are not only the only small flies that you may see in your kitchen area. If you see a small fly or gnat type of fly, it may not be coming from the drains. Test the drains as a source by placing tape (with holes punched in for ventilation) over the drain at night. Check the tape the next morning for fruit flies stuck to the tape.

Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.