Recently, I was sent out to one of our commercial accounts, an elderly care facility, out in East Brunswick, NJ. I was called because the manager was complaining about fruit flies. Fruit flies can be a problem year-round, but are especially common during late summer/fall because they are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables — but they also will breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash containers, mops and cleaning rags.
Now, here’s one thing you may not have known about fruit flies, they’re swingers! Oh, yea — both male and female fruit flies act polygamously (for those of you never watch Big Love on HBO, that means they prefer multiple partners at the same time) and prefer the nightlife! The reason for this is, aside from some fun, it increases the chance that some of the offspring will have traits that increase their fitness in their environment. The reproductive potential of fruit flies is enormous; given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs. The entire lifecycle from egg to adult can be completed in about a week. A true example of Live Fast, Die Young.
After speaking with the manager and sharing my extensive knowledge of fruit flies, I began inspecting the kitchens and discovered that all the floor drains were filled with debris. As soon as I started cleaning the drains, the battle horn rang, and a large number of fruit flies came flying out. Luckily, I had a fly trap baited with cider vinegar waiting for them. After removing all the debris, I cleaned the drains with Hot Spot, which thoroughly sanitizes the drain, and applied Bio Drain to eliminate all fruit flies that were still in there.
After completely sanitizing all the drains, I continued my inspection throughout the facility and discovered another problem area, the drink fountain. These fountains contained juices, coffee, and hot chocolate (all of which fruit flies love) and the trays were filled with sticky residue. Upon getting closer to the drink fountain, a number of fruit flies came rushing toward me. I sanitized each tray and also sprayed the surrounding walls with PT fly bait. What that spray does is aid in bringing flies into the treated area, they then ingest the solution, and then it’s lights out!
After all the treatment was done, I explained to the manager exactly why is he was having such a huge issue with fruit flies and how to take care of it. It is important to clean all the floor drains, empty and clean all garbage and recyclable cans in a designated area at least 15 feet from the building, and sanitize the drink fountain trays and tubes thoroughly every night. Unless the breeding sites are removed and cleaned, the problem will continue no matter how often solutions are applied to control the adults. A single rotting potato in a trash can, an onion forgotten at the back of a closet, or fruit juice spillage under a refrigerator can breed thousands of fruit flies.