Whether it's from your garden, a farmers' market, or the supermarket, it's a good idea to think about controlling fruit flies whenever you're planning to bring produce into your home.
Fruit flies can hitch a ride into your kitchen this way, on the surface of the produce. And because they're tiny – adult fruit flies are only 1/8th of an inch in length, and the eggs are microscopic – they often go unnoticed until an infestation happens inside your home.
Despite the name, fruit flies don't just like fruit; they also dig vegetables. Any ripe and unrefrigerated produce is attractive to fruit flies as they hang out and wait for the fruits and vegetables to start rotting, and the juices inside to ferment.
Once the fruits and vegetables reach that point, the juices provide food for energy, as well as a moist surface on which the fruit flies can lay their eggs. When those eggs hatch, the larvae burrow in to feed on the interior of the fruits and vegetables.
Overripe produce that doesn't require refrigeration such as bananas, melons, tomatoes and grapes are appealing to fruit flies... but they'll also go for potatoes, onions, mushrooms and squash.
Fruit flies also breed in drains, garbage disposals, trash containers, mops, empty bottles and cans in the recycling bin, and cleaning rags. A moist film of fermenting material is all they need for the eggs to develop into a fruit fly infestation.
So as you bring that fresh-picked produce home, make sure you wash it thoroughly before you enjoy it. And as an extra precaution, set a RESCUE!® Fruit Fly Trap near the fruit and/or the kitchen sink.
By Nancy Buley, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., Wholesale Tree Growers
Photographs courtesy of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.
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