Fly season is back as we head into warmer weather. Flies are irritating, disgusting and destructive – to say the least. The fruit fly is not exempt from these characteristics and – contrary to popular belief – fruit flies don’t only consume fruit: any unrefrigerated vegetable will also do.
Fruit flies are attracted to foods that ripen and will buzz around waiting for the fruits and vegetables to rot and the liquids to ferment. This is their idea of the perfect meal – and also a prime area to lay their eggs.
Fruit flies’ breeding grounds
Drains, garbage disposals, trash containers, mops, empty bottles and cans in the recycling bin, and cleaning rags are all breeding grounds for fruit flies. All they require is a moist layer of fermenting material for the eggs to mature into a fruit fly infestation. So, when you get that freshly picked produce home, make sure to carefully wash it before eating it.
Fruit fly lifecycle
Adult fruit flies grow to be 3-4 mm long and survive for 40 to 50 days. Fruit flies, as you might expect, are unwanted clients in a grocery store that produce aisles. Fruit flies have a four-stage reproductive system: egg, larval, pupae, and adult. When the larvae hatch, they immediately start eating decaying fruit. The entire transition takes one to two weeks to complete.
Fruit flies are tough to control since a single female fruit fly can produce up to 500 eggs in her brief life!
Interested in finding out more about the lifecycle of a fly? Download the Filthy Fly Facts poster.
Managing a fly infestation
Why is managing a fruit fly infestation important, you might ask? The answer is simple but has complex repercussions if not handled correctly. Flies carry pathogens that are harmful to us and cause illnesses. There are more than 100 different pathogens carried by these insects simply due to their lifestyle and habits: they breed in faeces, rotten food, garbage bins, and other decaying materials.
How to get rid of fruit flies
Flies are difficult to manage due to factors such as reproduction, temperature and availability of food and water sources, but there are a number of methods that can be applied to managing fruit flies in supermarkets in order to keep your customers safe and your brand image strong.
Here are 8 tips that can be employed to ensure the risk of fruit fly infestations are reduced:
- Supplier awareness:
Ensure that you keep your suppliers informed about the risks of fruit flies. Ask them what measures they are taking to ensure that fly infestations do not pass down your supply chain.
You can request details from them such as, what pest control practises are in place, do they have a fly control programme included, is there a fruit and vegetable washing process that produce undergoes before coming onto your premises?
- Packaging operations:
Not all fruit or vegetables go into pre-packed containers or cling film, however those that do need to be checked regularly to ensure that the stock within them is not compromised or that the packaging is not damaged for the fly to enter and lay eggs.
- Daily stock checks:
Produce needs to be checked regularly to ensure that items have not been compromised due to fly activity. As consumers purchase items and the stock gets moved, some items get damaged, fall or are left outside the designated area for that item.
This can cause major issues especially if the produce was supposed to be in the refrigerator and is now left elsewhere. Flies can enter the damaged produce, lay eggs and the cycle will begin to worsen.
- Produce care:
Where possible, cover produces with a fine net or keep it in the refrigerator until a customer is ready to purchase – this is highly recommended for hotter summer months.
Do your utmost to keep flies out of your premises. This can be in the form of strip curtains, air curtains, and automated doors. The main aim of these steps is to keep flies off your products and provide a better and safer shopping experience for your customers.
Housekeeping is the basis of all good pest control programs. This involves strict cleaning procedures to be in place to ensure that food and hydration sources are not available to pests. Fruit flies get hydrated from the liquids in fruits and vegetables, so keeping strong cleaning in place ensures that the risk is minimised.
- Waste Areas:
Disposal areas are often missed when considering the risks of a fly infestation. Keep bins closed at all times to ensure that flies do not breed in your waste areas.
Strong pest control processes need to be in place for supermarkets. Customers expect that the food they are purchasing is protected from pests and the diseases they carry.
There are a number of things I want you to keep in mind when thinking of a fly program for your stores. Internally, does the store have enough cover with fly control units, and are they at a level that flies usually buzz at (which is about 1.1 – 1.8 metres).
It’s not news that flies are lazy flyers, they rest on surfaces and find opportunities to land on food, so if your units are at a good level, they will be attracted to the units and you will have a better catch rate.
The next consideration is, do I have fly control in my waste area? This is an important factor due to flies having a good sense of smell in fact they can detect odours from up to 4 miles away. So even if you do keep the bins closed, there is a high chance that the smell will permeate the air around the waste area and that will still attract the flies. Think about installing a fly box from Rentokil in this area.
The final thought to leave you with is does my pest control program include my drain areas? These areas are often missed, but flies breed in drainage areas and so do other pests, for example, the cockroach which also carries pathogens.
For more information on how to get rid of flies and advice on how to manage fly infestations better or a quote for a full pest management solution Contact us today. You may also want to download the brochure for the Rentokil Lumnia range.