What’s the story with all the fruit flies – and how do you get rid of them?

Warm, humid weather has created an optimal insect breeding ground

Dr Martyn Linnie: ‘You can’t leave fruit, ripening fruit in particular, in the open’ Photograph: iStock/Getty

Dr Martyn Linnie: ‘You can’t leave fruit, ripening fruit in particular, in the open’ Photograph: iStock/Getty

 

With temperatures still running unseasonably high is it just our imagination or do fruit flies appear to be having a field day in our homes?

According to Dr Martyn Linnie, curator of the Zoological Museum at Trinity College Dublin, the current high temperatures and humid weather have created an optimal breeding ground for fruit flies to reproduce.

“Because we have humidity and sustained temperatures, that gives us the right conditions for adults to thrive and lay eggs, and have the cycle be repeated. We rarely have these conditions in Ireland, which normally limit reproduction.”

In order to thrive these pests also need an available organic food source, which makes ripening fruit and organic compost bins dietary staples. And while they don’t survive very long themselves, with an approximate life span of two weeks, they are able to lay a substantial amount of eggs in that time.

Prevention and remedy

To prevent or limit their pesky presence, Dr Linnie recommends reducing their access to organic matter.

“It’s all about prevention. Everything to do with pests is about limiting the conditions they need to breed, which in this case is food, and creating the environmental conditions in your home that prevent their presence. You need to be hygienic. You can’t leave fruit, ripening fruit in particular, in the open. It’s also important to clean countertops.”

Tony O’Reilly of Pest Control Dublin also advises keeping drains clear from leftover food, to further prevent the supply of organic food sources.

If you’re already hosting a fruit fly invasion, O’Reilly recommends a simple home remedy. Mix some apple cider vinegar, a dash of washing-up liquid, and some still water in a small container and they will find it an irresistible cocktail.

The good news is that they pose no real health or safety risk. “The flies themselves are not particularly dangerous to us,” says Dr Linnie. “They don’t bite. They’re more a nuisance than anything. Just try to be vigilant and change the conditions that attracted them in the first place.”

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