Numerous fruit fly species are well known insect pests of agricultural and urban areas where they congregate on decaying food sources in order to reproduce. Fruit flies, also known as vinegar flies, are able to successfully proliferate on both small and large sources of rotting food, such as food scraps beneath and within appliances and furniture, food that has become caked onto garbage receptacles, individual fruit and vegetable items, and bottles of wine. While the most common fruit fly pest species show a clear preference for breeding sites made up largely of fruit matter, these pests can breed on a variety of rotting foods, including yeast found in beer cans.
While the common housefly is the most frequently encountered fly pest species within homes and buildings, most pest control professionals agree that the common fruit fly (D. melanogaster) comes in at a close second. In fact, a nationwide survey of pest control professionals revealed that fruit flies were the the second most commonly managed fly pests within infested homes in all areas of the country during 2016. Fruit fly infestations can be eradicated by licensed pest control professionals, but a relatively new fruit fly species in the US, the dark-eyed fruit fly, has proven to be an unusually difficult insect pest to control within structures.
A total of five fruit fly species have become known as dark-eyed fruit flies, but D. repleta, D. hydei, and D. robusta are the most common species found infesting homes, restaurants, bars, and supermarkets. Dark-eyed fruit flies started to appear in US homes around the year 2000, and today, they are considered the dominant indoor fruit fly pests. Given their recent introduction into the US, pest control professionals have not yet perfected dark-eyed fruit fly control methods, but multiple baiting systems have shown promise.
While common fruit flies and dark-eyed fruit flies appear similar to the naked eye, the latter is slightly larger, but still small for a fly species, as adults are around 3 mm in length. True to their common name, dark-eyed fruit flies have eyes that are a darker shade of red than the bright red eyes of common fruit flies, and the former possess a darker brown exterior than the latter. The most notable difference between these fly pests are their infestation habits, as only dark-eyed fruit flies commonly infest food buildup in drains and they do not reproduce on decaying fruit matter as often as common fruit flies. Eradicating dark-eyed fruit fly infestations will be more effective if the pests are treated more like drain flies than common fruit flies.
Have you ever heard of dark-eyed fruit flies?