You do not need to be living in a home filled with rotting food in order to attract fruit flies indoors. Fruit flies are one of the most significant indoor fly pests during the summer season, and a bowl of fruit on your dining room table is all it takes to invite an infestation during the summer months. The insect genus, Drosophila, is comprised of fruit fly species, and there exists at least 800 documented species worldwide. Fruit flies are considered both a nuisance as well as medically significant pests since they make contact with rotting food and feces. Fruit flies have been documented as spreading a disease known as “intestinal myiasis” to humans. There exists eight documented fruit fly pest species that are commonly found indoors within the United States, and most of these species are abundant in the northeast.

The fruit fly species D. melanogaster, D. immigrans, and D. simulans are closely associated with humans and they have adapted to surviving within urban environments. These three species are often referred to as “domestic species”. Fruit flies prefer a variety of different food sources depending on the species. In the northeast, some fruit flies become abundant during the late spring and summer seasons, while other species are abundant during the late summer and fall seasons.  The D. melanogaster species, more commonly known as the “common fruit fly”, looks nearly identical to the D. simulans species, and both of these species invade homes in the northeast during the summer and fall seasons. These two species prefer to feed on fermenting fruit and they can also consume significant amounts of alcohol, so all household fruit should be refrigerated as a precaution against infestations.

The Drosophila hydei species is considered a major household pest as well, and they gravitate toward vegetable gardens and fecal matter located both indoors and outdoors. This species is particularly threatening as a mechanical disease vector since they often dwell within septic tanks and sewer systems before entering houses and urban buildings, particularly hospitals. The common fruit fly invades homes in the northeast more frequently than all other species, and they can smell food from a mile or more away. Once this species senses food, they do not rest until they have found the source. Eggs can hatch maggots within a short 24 hour period, and these maggots crawl into food before maturing into adults within a four day period.

Have you ever found maggots within a piece of fruit?