My kitchen is filled with fruit at the moment- fruit that I am dehydrating, fruit that I am eating and fruit that I will either can or use to make jam. Today, fruit flies showed up in my kitchen in force. When I was frustrated with these tiny insects last year, I decided to learn more about them. I shared the information I learned on this blog. Since I assume that I’m not the only person who is dealing with fruit flies right now, I am going to reprint that post below.
I do my best not to kill spiders, bugs, and insects but fruit flies can be so overwhelming. Even when I put my fruit in the refrigerator, at some point during the summer I usually end up resorting to trapping them with vinegar. Perhaps because the summer was so warm this year, there were more fruit flies than normal. Once, when I opened my outdoor compost bin, the swarm that emerged was so huge I could barely breathe. One day, I visited a friend’s house only to find a big swarm of fruit flies in her kitchen, even though there didn’t seem to be anything present in the kitchen to draw them.
During the last few months, I have posted interesting facts about ants, aphids and slugs on this blog. I decided to do the same for fruit flies. I was astounded at what I learned about them.
- Fruit flies have red eyes and tan bodies. On their abdomens, there are black bands.
- Fruit flies become .098 inches in length.
- They flap their wings 220 times per second.
- Their eyes have 760 individual lenses. They use 2/3 of their brains for visual processing.
- Fruit flies live 8 to 10 days. During that time females may lay 500 eggs. (One article said they may lay up to 2000!)
- Fruit flies are drawn to decaying fruits and vegetables, as well as greasy items, in garbage dumps, trash cans, restaurants and homes.
- They are also drawn to anything that is fermenting. They love beer and wine.
- They are considered nuisance pests but they can transmit diseases.
- Do not eat fruits that have rotten parts as they may contain fruit fly eggs and disease.
- People who have pet geckos, chameleons, frogs and praying mantises often breed fruit flies to feed them. They must also be a food source to many creatures in the wild.
- Fruit flies have only four chromosomes but those four are similar to human chromosomes.
- Fruit flies are used in genetic research and also for studying evolution and neurobiology.
- Seventy-five percent of genetically linked human diseases can be induced and examined in fruit flies.
- Fruit flies are used in Parkinsons, Alzheimers, aging, cancer, immunity, alcohol and drug abuse research.
- Fruit flies originated in West Africa and then spread to Europe. They probably arrived in North America on slave ships.
- In 1995 three scientists who used fruit flies in their experiments won the Nobel Peace Prize!
Here is an interesting video of the developmental stages of a fruit fly’s life.
Well, the fruit fly may be considered a nuisance pest, but it is obvious that they also provide important services to this world. I will never look at them the same again!
Fruit Fly Photo Credit: Wikipedia