Adult fruit flies are 1/8-inch long and have a dull, yellow-brown to dark brown colour. Some species have distinctive red eyes. The larvae are small (1/10-to 1/5-inch long) and very distinctive with an extended, stalk-like breathing tube at the rear end of the body.
The eggs are laid onto the surface of fermenting fruit or vegetables, or in areas where moisture and yeast are abundant. The eggs hatch within the span of 30 hours. Each female produces up to 500 eggs. The larvae complete development in five to six days and crawl to drier areas of the food or elsewhere in order to pupate. The life cycle (adult to adult) requires eight to ten days.
Fruit flies are common structural pests, frequently associated with fermenting fruits and vegetable or excess moisture. Recycling bins and their contents, as well as fruit and salad bars, are ideal habitats and have resulted in increased problems with this pest fly.
Fruit flies are best controlled by finding and eliminating the breeding material. Complete and thorough sanitation is necessary to eliminate the source of the infestation. Insect light traps and baited jar traps, fitted with tops which permit entry and prevent escape, are effective in reducing the population but are no substitute for sanitation.
Approximately 3/8 inch in size, cluster flies are close relatives of blow flies. Cluster flies appear narrow when at rest because their wings completely overlap over their back.
The female cluster flies mate in the spring, laying their eggs in soil crevices, which take three days to hatch. The larvae burrow into the bodies of earthworms, where they continue the process of developing. There are usually four generations per year.
Cluster Flies are highly aggravating and annoying because they survive throughout winter as adults in the attics and wall voids of structures. They enter structures in early fall to seek shelter from cooling temperatures. On warm days in winter and spring, they can become active and crawl sluggishly over walls and windows. When the weather warms, the cluster flies emerge in order to exit the structure.
There is no effective means of control for the larval stage of the cluster fly because they develop in earthworms. Large accumulations of these flies can be removed with a vacuum cleaner. Insect light traps can also be placed in attics but require frequent service. Since cluster flies cannot be controlled by disrupting the life cycle of the larvae, it is recommended to contact pest control for treatment.
Blow/bottle flies range in size, varying from ¼ – ½ inch. The black blowfly’s colouring is black with a bluish green luster; the green bottle flies is a metallic blue-green, and the blue bottle fly is a metallic blue.
Depending on the species, females lay from 540 up to 2,373 eggs in their lifetime. Eggs are laid in batches of 100 to 180 on meat and fish, but they are also attracted to animal manure, garbage and rotting vegetable matter. The eggs are ready to hatch in less than a day, making their cycle continuous and rapid.
Blow/bottle flies are frequently found developing in the decaying bodies of rodents and other animals that have died. Some species are strong fliers, and all are attracted to bright light.
Sanitation, or source reduction, is the most important step in blowfly control because it will eliminate the breeding sites. Property owners should ensure that all garbage is emptied and that receptacles are cleaned weekly to disrupt the developmental cycle. Fly and sticky traps are beneficial in decreasing the adult fly activity, both indoors and out.
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