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Back in my school days, I recall studying fruit flies as part of my science class. Fruit flies have often been used to teach students about genetics. This was easily done by observing different identifying markers on each fly.

However, despite being a great teaching tool, these flies prove to be a real annoyance in our daily lives, at home and in the garden. Seen most often in late summer and early autumn, fruit flies are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables. This means they can be found just about anywhere that produce is held, whether that’s at home, in the garden, at a restaurant, a supermarket, or any other place where food items are stored. Additionally, this can include places that make their own wine, cider, beer, or canned fruits or vegetables.

How do fruit flies affect produce?

Fruit flies multiply quickly since their life cycle are so short, laying their eggs on the surfaces of food or even on “food leftovers” (think spilled fruit juice or bits of produce left at the bottom of an open garbage can), where the larvae can feed off of it. Left unchecked over time, this alone can breed thousands of fruit flies.

In a commercial setting, a business typically manages a very large amount of produce and can't check every single piece of fruit for flies, which leaves the fruit flies to devour and destroy most of the unchecked produce over time. However, in a home setting, spotting fruit flies around a bowl of fruit, or glass of wine, is much easier. In this case, the rest of the fruit or vegetable can be salvaged by simply cutting off the pieces with the eggs or larvae on it, or fishing flies out of your wine.

What can be done to get rid of fruit flies?

At home, some simple preventative actions can completely stop the multiplication of fruit flies. The goal is to eliminate anything that the fruit flies would be attracted to. Consume any non-refrigerated fruits or vegetables shortly after bringing them home. Cut off and discard any infested pieces of produce. Search your kitchen and home for any food scraps that may be lying around or hidden, like scraps that may have fallen off the dining table unnoticed. Make sure any garbage or recycling bins are properly cleaned and sealed when closed.

For produce that needs to be left out on the counter for any period of time, there's also an alternative solution. Natural Catch® is a fruit fly trap that can be placed among fruits and vegetables without harming the produce or you. This non-toxic trap is ideal for produce left on a kitchen counter, for cheese and fruits left out when hosting parties, for wine tasting events, and other occasions where food would be left out for long periods of time. Natural Catch® lures fruit flies into the trap so that it omits the produce entirely.