Fruit flies are not hard to distinguish from ordinary house flies. Their red eyes, tan-and-black bodies, abdomens that “droop” as they fly, tendency to hover instead of move straight from point to point, and strong attraction to fruit, sugar, and beer make them easy to spot.
But there is much more to know about fruit flies than just their physical appearance and their favorite foods. Here are ten fruit fly facts you may not have known:
- Fruit flies have very short life spans. They mature to adulthood within a month and live, at most, about two more months. But in case you think that makes fruit fly control unnecessary, also realize that one mating pair of fruit flies can produce hundreds of new flies within only a week or two.
- Temperature greatly affects fruit fly life cycles. In warm temperatures with plenty of readily available fruit or other sugary foods, fruit flies can mature in a week instead of a month. And expect accelerated egg-laying activity and more difficult fly control as well in such conditions.
- Fruit flies have done great things for science. These tiny little flies have 14,000 genes (and human beings have only 24,000). This potential diversity, plus their rapid lifespans, make them perfect for genetic experimentation. And they even helped pave the way for the modern science of genetics to begin with.
- These flies are used to test medicines for humans. You may have known that mice and chimpanzees were commonly used for medical experiments and drug testing, but did you know that fruit flies are also frequently used in that capacity? Fruit flies can get many of the same diseases as humans.
- Their chromosomes look like barcodes. Fruit fly chromosomes are patterned in light-and-dark alternations that make them look barcodes. This does not mean they will scan at the check-out line, but the arrangement does help with visibility in genetic experimentation.
- Fruit fly brains are high-powered. In every tiny little fruit fly head, there is a brain with some 100,000 active neurons, controlling a host of complex activities, from circadian rhythms to flight calculations to learning/memory skills. (That explains why professional fruit fly control measures are often required to get rid of them.)
- Your drains can get infested with fruit flies. Fruit flies sometimes lay their eggs in a kitchen sink or other drains, out of sight and out of reach of dangerous humans who are competing for their food sources. This makes fly control difficult and could lead to confusion with drain flies (another pesky fly species), but tossing some hot, soapy water down the drain can help.
- Fruit flies are connoisseurs of great beer. An actual study done at Stanford University shows that fruit flies know how to choose out the beers with the fruitiest, most flavorful yeast base. Often, humans prefer the same beers that fruit flies do.
- Yes, fruit flies can get intoxicated and addicted. A study in Science shows that fruit fly brains feel pleasure when drinking alcohol. And the same study also showed that male fruit flies whom females had rejected drank four times as much as the average fruit fly.
- Traps are the number one fruit fly control mechanism. Beyond sanitation and keeping flies out to begin with, fruit fly control is largely done by placing traps with lights that attract the flies into odd-shaped containers they can’t fly their way back out of.
To learn more about fruit flies and fly control in general, or to get immediate help with a New England fruit fly infestation, feel free to contact Bain Pest Control Services online or by calling 978-452-9621.