INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Fruit flies seem to be enjoying an abundant summer. Viewers have told 24-Hour News 8 the tiny insects are popping up in what appears to be record numbers. So how do you get rid of them?
They are only one-eighth of an inch long. But as Broad Ripple residents Heidi Birky and Tyler Sawatzky will tell you, they are nasty.
"They're very annoying. And there are lots of them," says Heidi.
"It seems like I don't even notice them during the day usually. But in the evening they're everywhere. They just seem to congregate and they seem like they're on everything," says Tyler.
There are about 30,000 species of fruit flies.
"Basically they can come in with the fruit that you bring in," says Purdue entomologist Tom Turpin.
Turpin says any overripe or bruised fruit is food for fruit flies. Overripe bananas are the best breeding ground.
"The eggs have probably already been deposited in the skin of the banana. If you've got a bruised fruit, the eggs may have been deposited there," says Turpin.
And it takes only a week for the babies to develop into adults.
"Well the adults can live for up to a month. And during that time those adult females can lay 500 or more eggs," says Turpin.
So an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Just ask Rudy Nehrling at the Good Earth Natural Food Company in Broad Ripple.
"When people come in and buy fresh organic produce you know, that's the last thing you want is flies or bugs crawling around on it," says Turpin.
At the Good Earth Natural Food Company in Broad Ripple, they sift through the fruit twice a day and dispose of any that's overripe. And they put traps out to catch them along with peppermint oil to repel them. Turpin encouraged other people to take the same steps.
"Put a little vinegar down in the bottom of the jar, and make a funnel. And they will get down in that vinegar and not be able to find their way out. And then you can hall that out and dump them out as well," says Turpin.
Turpin says spraying doesn't work. You have to catch and dispose of fruit flies. That doesn't mean just throwing them into the trash can in the house. You need to wrap them in a bag and throw them in the garbage outdoors. Dr. Turpin says there's no way to tell if this fruit fly season is worse than any other. But he says, it's likely you'll be fighting them a while longer. Fall is the peak season for fruit flies. Although they are a nuisance, fruit flies cannot cause disease.
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