Reach for a peach, and what happens? A squadron of fruit flies takes to the air above the fruit bowl! Where the heck did they come from? The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids has the answer!
Fruit Flies, Don’t Bother Me!
They probably didn’t come from the grocery store. It’s more likely that the flies were passing by your house and smelled the fruit as it was ripening, especially if it was starting to get a bit overripe. (Fruit flies actually prefer wine and beer to fruit because they like food that has fermented.)
Where It’s Wet and Smelly …
The tiny, yellowish insects are part of a large family of small flies that has about 3,000 species. Unlike houseflies, which can spread disease, fruit flies are harmless. They can live and breed in drains and garbage cans and on damp mops and rags. Spilled juice under the refrigerator or a rotten potato at the bottom of a bin can be a happy home for the fruit fly.
They Lay Hundreds of Eggs …
Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of your ripe fruit—and they can lay 500 eggs at a time! About 30 hours later, tiny larvae emerge and feed on the fruit. In a week, they are ready to take to the air.
But They Don’t Live Long!
The entire life span of a fruit fly is only about 2 weeks. However, researchers have discovered that drinking a fermented beverage will enable a fruit fly to live a day or two longer—and a day or two is quite a bit when your life is only 2 weeks!