Fruit Flies: Identify Them | Find Them | Get Rid Of Them

by | Flies, Insects

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Do you have small flies buzzing around and eating the fruit on your kitchen counter? What about the flies living in your bathroom or that come flying out of your mop? It turns out that you might have fruit flies…

Fruit flies have small, stocky bodies that are yellow or brown, with black rings on the abdomen. Their eyes are usually red, but can be black or dark brown. These flies love eating and laying eggs in rotting foods, especially fruits and veg, but they are also attracted to drains, sponges, and moist places.

Below you’ll find out how to identify fruit flies, if they can harm you or your family, and how to get rid of fruit flies once and for all.

How to identify fruit flies

Photo of a fruit fly with labels to identify a fruit fly
To identify a fruit fly, look for a small, yellow-brown, stocky body; red eyes (but these can be black or dark brown); and black rings around the abdominal area.

The following table gives a list of characteristics on what to look for to identify a fruit fly:

Known as – Fruit flies
– Pomace flies
– Vinegar flies
ColorTan / yellow-brown
Average length1/8 inch (3 mm)
Description – Stocky, oval-shaped, cylindrical body
– Usually red eyes, but some have dark brown or black eyes
– 2 see-through wings
– Black rings across the abdomen
Flight patternsFruit flies fly in a straight line then make sudden 90° turns
Eggs – Each female can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime
– About 5 eggs are laid at a time in rotting fruit or other food source, then covered in feces by the mother
Attracted to / Where to find fruit flies  Look for fruit flies:
– In overripe or rotting fruits and vegetables
– At the bottom of trash cans
– In recycling bins
– Near spills or loose lids on vinegars, wines, beers
– By floor drains
– In any rotting material
– On wet rags, sponges, and mops
Breed – Breed outdoors in summer and indoors all year round
– Fruit flies with red eyes breed in rotting fruits, trash cans, and garbage disposals
– Fruit flies with dark eyes (brown or black) breed in dirty mops, damp rags and sponges, near drains and urinals, and in empty cans or bottles
Eat – Rotting fruits and vegetables
– Decaying matter
– Leaves
Honeydew from aphids
Most activeDuring the day

Why fruit flies are called “fruit flies”

Fruit flies are called fruit flies because they love to eat and lay eggs in overripe, damaged and rotting fruit. Their favorite fruits are bananas, apples, melons, and tomatoes. The flies pierce the fruit’s skin to eat the flesh and lay eggs inside. Maggots hatch from the eggs and eat the fruit too.

Photo of maggots showing them as white worms that will be adult flies within 5 to 6 days
Fruit flies lay eggs in rotting food, such as overripe fruits and vegetables. Worm-like maggots hatch from these eggs and eat the rotting food. They later turn into adult fruit flies.

But fruit flies don’t just eat fruit – they love to eat any rotting organic material, including plants.

What causes fruit flies in a house

Fruit flies are attracted to overripe or rotting fruits and veg, as well as moist environments like drains and mops. Fruit flies are often brought inside on fruits and veg bought in the store or at a market, but they also get in through open windows or doors and through tiny holes in window and door screens.

Click here for a list of all the ways flies get into your house.

Why fruit flies are bad

Fruit flies can’t bite or sting, but they are annoying, infest our food, spread germs, and carry the bacteria that give people food poisoning. If someone eats food infested with fruit flies, there’s a chance they will get diarrhea. Fruit flies also spread germs when they move around and land on items in our homes.

Here’s one of the ways a fruit fly can make a person sick:

A fruit fly sits on and eats rotten fruit. Germs from the fruit move over to the fly’s body. The fruit fly then flies off and lands on a clean plate in the kitchen. The germs are transferred from the fly to the clean plate. When someone uses the plate, they take in the germs and risk getting food poisoning.

How to get rid of fruit flies

Below is a list of the best methods and products from Amazon that you can use to prevent and get rid of fruit flies:

  • Keep fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator, not on the kitchen counter.
  • Don’t throw food scraps in the kitchen bin. Seal them in a bag and take them to an outdoor bin. Clean and sterilize your garbage disposal regularly.
  • Buy trash cans with locking lids so fruit flies can’t get inside, or get a trash can with an odor filter so flies can’t smell what’s in there. You can also carry on using the bins you have but stick a garbage guard under the lid. This little device kills maggots, fruit flies, and other insects in the bin for up to 4 months.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed, especially in spring and summer. Fix any holes in the screens over your doors and windows. If you like leaving your doors and windows open and you don’t have any fly screens, these magnetic screen doors or magnetic screen windows from Amazon. Leave a fan blowing against open windows and doors to stop fruit flies from getting in.
  • Always wash fruits and vegetables well before cooking or eating them. Cut away areas that are bruised or damaged before eating. Throw away any fruits or vegetables that are overripe, broken, or leaking liquids.
  • Put out these fruit fly traps, to trap fruit flies and get rid of infestations.
  • If you have dark-eyed fruit flies in our bathroom or drains, try this gel drain cleaner to kill fruit and drain flies. The good news is that this product won’t damage septic tanks or pipes.
  • Aunt Fannie specializes in getting rid of fruit flies in homes without harsh chemicals. Just open the bottle, place it where there are fruit flies, and watch fruit flies disappear because the product stops them from multiplying, and it works for 30 days.
  • Set up a sticky indoor fruit fly trap, like this one. Fruit flies are attracted to the blue light, and once they get close the machine sucks them in and they get stuck to a piece of sticky paper. This machine uses no chemicals and is safe to use near food and children.
  • Want a fast effective way to kill fruit flies you see flying around? Spray them with this fruit fly killer and repellent. There’s no strong smell because it’s made from plant oils. This product is also safe to use around people and pets when the directions are followed as it’s designed to attack an insect’s nervous system only.

I'm Monique. I love gardening and spending time in my backyard growing things. Here's where I share what I know about backyard pests and what to do about them, so you can enjoy your yard too.

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Monique loves gardening and spending time in her backyard, where she grows flowers, succulents, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Monique spends a lot of time researching how to protect her backyard from harmful pests and trying to attract beneficial insects and animals.

She shares everything that she learns and tests here at Backyard Pests.


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