Fruit flies, vinegar flies

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Together with more than 3,000 other species, the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) belongs to the family Drosophila (Drosophilidae). Since fruit flies, often referred to as vinegar flies, are well adapted to human habitats and conditions, they are rarely found outside human settlements. The fruit fly owes its German name to its preference for fermenting fruit and vegetables. The insect, which usually does not exceed a length of three millimeters, has a brown-yellow tank as well as striking red compound eyes.

Lifestyle of the fruit fly

With almost every purchase in the supermarket, humans carry a few eggs from fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) into their own four walls - in this way, the small pest ghosts come to our living rooms via food. After the fruit flies have developed, they are looking for food fermenting substances or liquids, where the oviposition and further larval development takes place. Fruit juices, rotting fruit, kitchen waste, beer, wine and milk are high on the menu of fruit flies. But ketchup, jam and vinegar are also popular food sources.
The mutual consumption of food and brood substrates can lead to transmission of vinegar bacteria and yeast fungi. In addition to oviposition or larval feeding, the spoilage of food follows. Particularly affected are already overripe and damaged fruit.
Fruit flies are closely related to the cherry vinegar fly (Drosophila suzukii), which was brought in from East Asia a few years ago and has since made life difficult for many fruit growers and winemakers in southern Germany.


Before fruit flies mate, it comes to the promotional foreplay of animals, the so-called courtship. This process can be divided into several phases: In the first phase, the male touches the female animal with the forefeet. Especially virgin females but a sex attractant, which is clearly perceptible for the males over short distances. If the male determines that the female belongs to a strange species, it withdraws and no mating occurs. In the second phase, both sexes slowly open their wings and then close them again. In the third phase, the male begins to vibrate with the wing facing the female, circling the female. The male touches the sexual organs of the female with its trunk and begins a compatibilization attempt. The male animal rises to the abdomen of the female fruit fly. If the female does not want to mate, she flees. Otherwise, the courtship ritual will be repeated until a successful pairing occurs.

Life cycle fruit fly

From oviposition to the finished fruit fly pass only a few weeks

The female vinegar flies lay several hundred eggs about a day after fertilization. For this purpose, the animal looks for storing ripe to putrid plant substances, which also serve as a future food source for the young. Only a short time after oviposition, the first fruit fly larvae hatch. The complete development of a fruit fly takes about two weeks. Under favorable conditions, this time can be shortened to about ten days. Thus, in a very short time, a considerable population can arise in one's own home. Mass developments occur mainly in households, canteen kitchens and fruit stores, as here is a rich food supply available. Warm places are especially appealing to fruit flies.

Preventive measures

Store your food in containers that are easy to close, so that the tiny fruit flies are prevented from oviposition. Make sure to empty your organic waste regularly. The lid of the biowaste bin should always remain closed - otherwise it will quickly lead to a mass development of fruit flies.
In the warm summer months it is advisable to keep fruit in the fridge, because it is too cold for the little vinegar flies. If you do not want to store your fruit in the fridge, you should cover the fruit bowl in any case, because a cover also prevents the oviposition of the reproduction-friendly animals. Remove fruit with existing bruises from your fruit basket. Also avoid open bottles of juice or wine, and glasses with beverage residues. Close or rinse immediately to avoid attracting fruit flies.

Fighting vinegar flies

There are a variety of ways to effectively combat fruit flies. For example, regular airing ensures that the little pests leave your home. The specialist trade also offers suitable fruit fly traps for sale. Depending on the type of trap, the pests are attracted by an attractant from fruit vinegar and a fruit juice concentrate or pheromones and then adhere to the adhesive surface.
So-called funnel traps are especially popular for controlling Drosophila melanogaster. They consist of small containers that are filled with a tonic. On the opening of the container, a small funnel is placed, through which the fruit flies can get into it, but by themselves they can not find their way out of the container.

Fruit Fly Trap

A mixture of a sugary liquid, for example, juice, vinegar, and detergent gives an effective fruit fly trap

Of course it is also possible to build a fruit fly trap yourself. Take a glass of fruit juice, vinegar and a little detergent. The rinse aid is important to lower the surface tension of the solution - otherwise the flies will fly off again. You can now place the finished trap in the desired location. After only a few hours, the first successes are set: attracted by the sweet-and-sour mixture, the pests fly into the glass and go under. The trap should be renewed after about two to three days.
Instead of fruit juice and vinegar, you can also make a vinegar fly trap with wine as well. Fill a shot glass with white wine, add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to the wine and also detergent. Now you can set up the fruit fly trap near the fruit basket and wait until the first little animals nibble on the liquid.
Yeast and sugar can be used to combat fruit flies. To do this, stir in a piece of fresh yeast with a teaspoon of sugar and lukewarm water. Transfer the yeast milk to a bottle. The fruit flies are attracted to the foraging of the liquid, crawl into the bottle, but can not find out through the thin neck again.
Carnivorous plants such as common buttercup (Pinguicula vulgaris) or Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) regulate a fruit fly plague. The beneficial plants use the trapped flies as a valuable source of nitrogen.
Stay on the ball in the fight against fruit flies: A forgotten piece of fruit or an open organic waste bin are enough to attract the persistent pests numerous again.
By the way...
Did you know that vinegar flies are not only annoying troublemakers in our kitchen? The small flies are popular research objects especially in genetics and developmental biology, as they are easy to grow, produce progeny quickly, and have only four pairs of chromosomes.

Video Board: The Best Home Made Fruit Fly Trap (with proof).

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