Fruit Flies: The Red Eye Guys

Fruit flies are small, but not microscopic, have short life cycles and can reproduce rapidly in tiny spaces with limited resources. These characteristics make fruit flies the model organism for genetic research, but are the very reason why fruit flies are such a nuisance when they appear in our homes.

Identification and Biology

Fruit flies are 1/8 inch long and typically have red eyes. They are one of the smallest and most common flies in houses, restaurants and grocery stores – anywhere food ripens, rots and ferments. Fruit flies begin as eggs before they hatch into legless larvae or maggots. The maggots enter a pupal stage so they can develop into mature, winged adult flies. They are active year round indoors, but their life cycle will slow considerably at cooler temperatures. Under optimal conditions in the summer, they can complete their life cycle in 7-10 days.

Fruit fly

The fruit fly has red eyes, two wings, and dark stripes on the abdomen. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

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The January 2017 Issue of the NEBLINE is on-line!

4-h-clover-college-2016-wired-for-wind-06-crop-2The first issue of 2017 is now posted on-line! Visit and click on the link to the January 2017 NEBLINE- it is free!

Here are some of the articles featured in this issue:

  • 2016 Extension Highlights
  • Makeover Your Leftovers, Part 2
  • Private & Commercial Pesticide Applicator Certification Training
  • Successful Farmer Series Workshops
  • Upcoming Green Industry Conferences (Great Plains Growers Conference January 12-14 | Nebraska Turfgrass Conference January 10-12 | Nebraska Great Plains Conference January 23-25)
  • Extension’s 2017 Master Gardener Trainings, Two Sites Available
  • January Garden Guide: Things to do this month
  • Those Pesky Fruit Flies (Homemade Trap Directions)
  • Helping Backyard Wildlife Survive Winter
  • Heart of 4-H Award Winner: Diane Ossenkop
  • It’s Time to Re-Enroll in 4-H!
  • Watch Chicks Hatch on 4-H EGG Cam!
  • Meet 2016-2017 4-H Teen Council
  • Overnight Lock-In for 4th & 5th Graders Friday, January 20 – Saturday, January 21
  • 4-H Horse Incentive Program Begins January 1
  • Livestock Identification Requirements for 2017
  • 4-H Crocheting Workshop, Feb 4 | Pillow Sewing Workshop Feb 11
  • 4-H Achievement Celebration February 16
  • earth wellness festival Needs Volunteers
  • Upcoming Learning Child Trainings
  • Two New Nutrition Staff: Nicole Busboom & Brie Frickenstein
  • Happy Trails Marty Cruickshank
  • Staff and Team Awards

The NEBLINE Newsletter

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!


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