These small flies are mostly a nuisance pest and are not a major threat to one's health.  Though frequently found in kitchen or bathroom areas, they are often found in other rooms because these flies are light-sensitive and will fly into those rooms especially at night as lights go on and off in the home.  They are often confused with drain flies because they are found in similar areas and are of similar size.  

     One other source for fruit flies, in some cases, is house plants.  Since soil contains organic matter, it is possible for flies to breed in the soil.  We are not aware of any solutions other than to bring the affected plants outdoors.

Solutions

The key to dealing with these, as with all flies, is to eliminate the breeding source.  The larvae (maggots), the immature stage of these flies, breed in any type of decaying organic matter.  This includes rotting or fermenting foods or beverages,  food particles, hair, soap scum, etc..   Areas to check include drains (including floor drains, sinks, bathtubs, dishwasher, laundry and uncapped cleanout sites), leaking waste lines, refrigerator or freezer drip pans or discharge lines.  Also check damp mops or cleaning rags.

     Simply eliminating the breeding source will break the insect's life cycle and the flies will gradually disappear.  Thus, good sanitation is key to eliminating fruit flies.  Cleaning of drains with a quality drain cleaner will also help eliminate the problem.   

We offer Vector Bio 5, an organic, bacterial enzyme based drain cleaner which contains a fragrance to help cover unpleasant odors while it digests the decaying organic matter in drains and grease traps.  It does not contain any caustic substances and is essentially non-toxic.  If there are leaks, repair of these leaks is crucial in solving the problem.   For commercial premises, we are also offering Bio Mop which can be used for cleaning to help remove organic matter on floors and in crevices where mop water will reach.   After mopping, the water remaining in the pail may be used to clean floor and other drains to help remove breeding sites in those areas.

     We offer two fly traps to help reduce annoyance from these insects until the breeding source is located or to help where the breeding source is difficult to control.   One is the Victor Flying Insect Trap which may be filled with any attractive liquid.  Insects can fly into this pint sized plastic bottle but can't find their way out through the specially designed top.  Another trap that we sell is Natural Catch Plus which contains vinegar as an attractant.  You can click here to link to the manufacturer's web site to see the product and learn more about its use.  This low profile, triangular shaped plastic trap attracts flies in, but as with the other trap, they can't find their way out.  It can be used in sensitive areas such as next to food in display cases because it is opaque and no one knows what is inside the trap.

    

     Finally, you may also use a flying insect killer aerosol such as one containing pyrethrins, which is labeled for flies, to kill any adult fruit flies and vinegar flies.  These sprays will help for a day or two at a time at most, but flies are likely to emerge again within hours of the treatment.  The product that we sell is called Whitmire PT P.I. (pyrethrins insecticide).

     Once again, the key to controlling fruit flies (and many other flies) is to eliminate the breeding source.

     We hope that this page has been helpful to you and we invite your comments or questions.  Contact us toll-free in the US or Canada at 1-800-433-1128 or E-mail to us at drbugclinic@bugclinic.com.   Our local number is 845-356-2837 and our fax number is 845-746-9018.