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Fruit Fly


Fruit Fly, Peacock Flies

A close up of a a fruit fly on a leaf Tephritidae
Euaresta aequalis by Bruce Marlin (CC BY-SA 2.5)
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The family of Fruit Flies comprises around 5,000 species total; organised within 500 different genera. Research and findings are forever evolving, so the group frequently undergoes taxonomic changes.= Female flies will lay their eggs in fruits of plants, which the larvae then go on to eat and make inedible. Some species are severe agricultural pests, whereas others are beneficial pollinators and provide food for other wildlife. These flies are sometimes called Peacock Flies because of their bright colouration and wing patterns.
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Some species of Fruit Fly can be detrimental to large crop yields.
Fruit Flies are food for many predatory insects and spiders too!


Adults: Tiny, brown flies measuring no bigger than 1-3mm. With a hand lens or beneath a microscope can reveal vivid colours and patterns on the wings and body. Larvae: Tiny white translucent maggots that feed inside the fruit. Pupae: Typically formed inside or on the surfaces of fruits. Eggs: Tiny but laid inside the fruits.












Biological treatment

By practising good housekeeping, you can help prevent a Fruit Fly infestation. Fruit Flies enjoy overwintering in garden debris. So by clearing this regularly, you'll make your garden a less attractive spot. Try to pick fruits before they become too ripe and fall to the ground. If they do fall, be sure to pick them up. Don't put decaying fruit in the compost bin. The Fruit Flies will be there in no time if you do! As well, try to keep the compost aerated, turning every few weeks. Always keep the compost covered with a lid. Covering crops with a fine mesh can sometimes be an effective barrier against Fruit Flies. Likewise, there are various traps that can be obtained on the internet or made at home. This can be highly beneficial to detect and monitor garden populations.

Chemical treatment

Suitable pesticides include those containing natural pyrethrums/ pyrethrins (organic). The latter can still be harmful to other insects, so do take care when applying. Lambda-cyhalothrin or deltamethrin are suitable for use on fruit. Always read the bottle labels and be sure your crop is listed. Always try to avoid spraying flowers so that beneficial insects are not harmed. If in doubt, consult with your local garden centre, or ask the Candide community!
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Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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