In the summer, when it’s extra sticky and rough and humid and wet, things ripen pretty quickly. In the winter, I can leave a bowl full of fruit on the counter at room temperature and indulge in whatever I want without worrying about a fruit fly problem. In this old building on a hot August day? I don’t think so.

Recently, I had to solve a two-part mystery that was very ripe in my kitchen.

One: Where did these fruit flies come from? and Two: Where did this foul smell come from?

where do fruit flies come from

Here, in the bottom of the onion box I usually keep in a dark, cool pantry, a bag of potatoes was the culprit.

But wait a minute. Potato is not a fruit.

First of all, don’t immediately assume that any small fly in your kitchen is 100% a fruit fly until you have made a scientific observation of its behavior and habits. Accurate species identification is critical to understanding the cause of an unexpected invasion of an insect species. Inspection and observation allows us to understand what is needed to return pest pressure to nature where it can do whatever it does outside, NOT inside our buildings.

No need to buy a microscope kit or scroll through Google results for countless DIY suggestions that can waste your time. That’s what experts like us are here for. Just call a Rose pro you know and we’ll help.

Fruit fly

What does a fruit fly look like?

Fruit flies are attracted to freshly rotting, moist, organic matter such as fruits and vegetables. It makes sense in nature. We need shredders or the world will smell like hot garbage. Thanks for that, fruit flies. But let EW get out of my house. Fruit flies come from abroad. They enter through small holes in the screens. They love garbage cans and recycling bins with glue sticks dripping on them. Fruit flies will go to town on a wet mop head in a restaurant kitchen, making babies in your trash cans and other nasty, hard-to-reach places. Fruit flies live only a few days and reproduce rapidly when conditions are ideal. Hot garbage is like a summer fly paradise. Here’s the key to remember:

To eliminate a fly problem, you must find and eliminate the source of their breeding grounds.

Some ideal fruit fly breeding sites will be as obvious as ripe fruit. Some can be easily overlooked, such as a bag of forgotten potatoes (WOOPS) or food thrown under the stove. Have you ever experienced how disgusting a forgotten bag of potatoes with leaking black sludge is? Seriously the WORST. After I got this out of there, I super mega ultra cleaned that pantry floor, all over the shelves, and the bottoms of jars and boxes. I got a lot of cat toys from under the fridge and stove. I went into all corners. I refrigerate all my produce and no more fruit flies. VICTORY!

Mushroom mosquitoes

mushroom mosquito

The shape of fungus gnats is different from fruit flies. And they aren’t as keen on fruit as their red-eyed counterparts. Fungus gnats are attracted to soil in potted plants. Overwatering plants is the biggest reason for having these little gnats in your home. Overwatering creates molds that create an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.

How to get rid of fungus gnats

One thing that can significantly help get rid of fungus gnats on potted plants is adding an inch of sand to the top of the soil. When newly hatched mosquitoes emerge from the soil, the roughness of the sand will cut through their chitin (the protective waxy covering on their bodies) and they will dry out and die. Be good plant parents and see how often you need to water certain types of plants you have. Remember, it’s all about balance!

Release the flies

drain fly

Drain flies are also called bathroom flies, moth flies, and the problem gets worse over time. They look fuzzy, maybe that’s not a bad bug. But it is not a good thing that you have them. A drain fly population problem means that something is going on with your drains and you need to address it quickly. Like fruit flies do with kitchen drains, these will breed in the clog that builds up in your floor drains!

You need to get rid of tension. Sanitation is key. This fixes the problem at the source. Identify the source. Eliminate places where they breed. This is how professionals do it.

Small flies in food establishments

Controlling small flies in food processing facilities is serious business. Our experts are specially certified in food safety to make sure the environment is healthy for employees, patrons and even man’s best friend in certain scenarios. Different flies are all attracted to different things. Not all flies can be controlled in the same way. They are not just a nuisance, they are vectors capable of spreading bacteria and other things.

Food Safety Certificate

Since the 1800s, some important lessons have been learned about pest management in the food industry. The last place anyone wants to see a pest is while eating. Currently, establishments such as food manufacturing plants, food warehouses, grocery stores, restaurants, and bars have food safety regulations, standards, and audits that ensure sanitary conditions for patrons to consume food safely. Passing pest control inspections is very important to make sure the public does not get sick when eating food from grocery stores or restaurants.

has a food safety certificate

AIB International,, is an organization that audits food processing facilities to protect the food industry, helping ensure food plants maintain a safe and pest-free environment.

An IPM program with a pest control professional is essential to pass the pest control category of the audit. Rose is proud to be the number one choice for IPM food industry partnerships. Our experts hold special certification in Food Safety to add to our other credentials. Plus, we’ve served the food industry longer than any other company in Chicagoland.

To help keep small flies in homes and kitchens away from your produce, plants and any other organic material, call 1-800-GOT-PESTS first? and remember these:

    1. To eliminate this, experts must first find the source
    2. An expert can help you determine why they are there and what they are after, and help you identify the species correctly
    3. Eliminating a pest problem is not just one person’s job. Maintaining a healthy, sanitary environment for everyone is the responsibility of everyone involved—residents, employees, and your IPM expert.

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