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Fly Eggs In Your Intestines- Can You Eat Food After A Fruit Fly Lands On It?

We all know that fruit flies land on food, but how much contamination does that cause?

Unlike regular house flies, you won't get a warning noise that a fruit fly is buzzing around. We've all been told that flies landing on your food can cause contamination, but does that count for fruit flies as well? Here's what you need to know.

That's a quick way to ruin your appetite!

fruit flies on an apple

Fruit flies are small but they reproduce quickly and can be hard to eliminate once the population is established. Find out how to recognize fruit flies and some tips on keeping them out of your home before they become an infestation.


What Do Fruit Flies Look Like?

Fruit flies are so small that it's hard to see many of their features. However, up close, fruit flies look very similar to houseflies.

close up picture of a fruit fly

While there are many varieties of fruit flies, we're going to concentrate on the common fruit fly (drosophilia melanogaster), also known as a vinegar fly. These flies are the main source of frustration for homeowners in our area, and a common complaint for new customers across Central Virginia.

Fruit flies are very small, measuring only about an eighth of an inch long. They are tan with black stripes on the abdomen, with males having a full black abdominal tip. They have red eyes and have clear wings. Adult males will also have a distinctive black spot on the tip of their wings.

Can You Eat Food After A Fruit Fly Has Landed On It?

Most people have heard the gross horror stories of what flies can do when they land on your food. Fruit flies are no different. So can you eat food after a fruit fly has landed on it? You can, but you really probably shouldn't. Fruit flies are attracted to things you wouldn't want to eat- rotting food, bacteria-infested drains, dirty water, even feces. When flies land in those places and then land on your food, those pathogens can potentially pass to your plate. Will you get sick every time you eat something a fly has touched? No. But you take the risk that you might.

Some factors that will impact the risk are:

How long has the fruit fly been touching your food?

How long has the food been sitting out after having been touched by the fly (giving the bacteria time to grow)?

How many disease or bacterial sources are around your food (trash cans, dirty water, rotting food, etc)?

Another factor to consider, beyond just the diseases that the fruit fly might be carrying, is that fruit flies lay eggs inside fruit and produce. Not all species of fly larvae can survive human ingestion. However, and horrifyingly, there are over 50 species of flies that have been reported to cause human myiasis - meaning that the fly eggs were able to hatch and infest living humans' intestines (Intestinal Myiasis, CDC).

On that disgusting note, let's move on to keeping fruit flies out of your home (and your intestines!).

How Can You Keep Fruit Flies From Infesting Your Home?

If you've ever had to deal with a fruit fly infestation, you'll know how incredibly frustrating it can be. And how hard to fix. Each female fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs and with their life cycles lasting as little as a week or so, these pests multiply rapidly. Unfortunately, they are also a year-round pest, so not even a change in the weather will help you out.

So, the important question then... how do you keep them out? Keeping a clean home is a key component to elimination of these annoying pests. Anything you can do to minimize breeding surfaces - such as overripe or damaged fruits, compost areas, and fermenting items like beer or wine - will help to curb growth of the population. Fruit flies will lay eggs inside fruit, produce, and even be able to breed within dirty drains, garbage cans, and disposals. Fruit flies can even breed on crumbs or spills on the floor or counter. The infestation will not go away on its own and the longer you leave it, the worse it will get.

Many do-it-yourself methods of eliminating fruit fly infestations can provide temporary relief but are unlikely to fully eliminate the problem. There are drain cleaners, such as bacterial digesters or even just bleach. There are fruit fly traps you can purchase or make using a vinegar (recipes for these homemade traps are everywhere).

The best thing you can do is to make sure any rotten produce is disposed of immediately, garbages are regularly taken out, and you are cleaning up spills and crumbs. Keeping dirty dishes out of the sink and keeping your drain and disposal clean will also be key to keeping your home free of fruit flies.

We can help eliminate your pest issues - give us a call today!

To learn more about local Virginia pests, check out our Pest Library!


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