Where Do Fruit Flies Come From? Uncovering their Mysterious Origins

Have you ever wondered where fruit flies come from? These tiny creatures can be quite a nuisance, especially when they start to invade your kitchen. Despite their small size, these insects are attracted to your ripe fruits and vegetables, as well as any fermenting liquids like wine, beer, or vinegar source.

Fruit flies have a rapid life cycle, with adults laying their eggs on the surface of suitable food sources. Within just 8 to 10 days, these eggs will hatch into larvae, feed for several days, and then transform into pupae before emerging as adult fruit flies source. This means that in a very short span of time, these tiny pests can multiply exponentially, making it crucial to understand their origin and features in order to control and prevent infestations.

Understanding Fruit Flies

Fruit flies, also known as Drosophila melanogaster, are tiny flying insects often seen around overripe fruits and fermenting liquids. They’re easy to recognize with their teeny size and red eyes.

Their life cycle is quite short, completing in just about 8 to 10 days. Here are the key stages:

  • Female fruit flies lay eggs on the food surface
  • Larvae emerge and feed for 5 to 6 days
  • They then move to drier areas to pupate

These fast reproducers are attracted to wine, beer, fruit juice, and vinegar. To avoid having them around your food, you can follow these tips:

  • Store fruits and veggies in the refrigerator
  • Dispose of rotten produce promptly
  • Keep garbage cans clean and well-covered

In a nutshell, it’s essential to keep fruit flies at bay. With a short lifespan and high reproduction rate, understanding their life cycle and habits will help you maintain cleanliness and food safety in your home.

The Origin Of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are tiny pests that you might often encounter in your home, especially around ripened fruits and vegetables. Their origin can be traced to outdoors, where they thrive in the warm weather of summer and fall. However, it’s possible to find them year-round, depending on the location and availability of food sources.

In the summer, fruit flies are more likely to enter your home, attracted by the ripened fruits and vegetables that you may have lying around. They can sneak through tiny openings in your windows or doors. Removing or covering these food sources can help prevent their entry.

During the fall, fruit flies may still be present. They might find their way in through drains, garbage disposals, or empty bottles and cans, where they can lay their eggs and continue to breed. Sanitation is key to controlling fruit flies, as eliminating their food and breeding sites is an effective method of prevention. One way to do this is by keeping fruit stored in the refrigerator.

Though fruit flies are usually associated with warmer months, they can still persist year-round if they find a suitable indoor environment. Maintaining cleanliness and storing fruits and vegetables properly can help minimize their presence in your home.

To summarize, fruit flies mainly come from outdoors, with a preference for warm seasons like summer and fall. They can invade your home through tiny openings and breed in various food sources and breeding sites. Maintaining a clean and sanitized environment can help keep these pesky insects at bay.

Fruit Flies And The Kitchen

Fruit flies are common household nuisances that seem to appear almost out of nowhere. They love to feed on ripe or fermenting food items, making your kitchen a perfect place for them to thrive.

You’ll often find fruit flies around your vegetables, produce, and especially those overripe fruits lying on your counter. They are attracted to the smell of fermenting fruits, so if there are any ripe or ripened fruits in your vicinity, you may encounter these pesky insects.

To minimize fruit flies in your kitchen, consider storing ripe fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. This helps keep your produce fresh, preventing the smells that attract the flies.

Keep an eye on those cans and jars too! Fruit flies can find their food source in small amounts of fermenting residue, which may be present in these containers. So make sure to clean and seal them tightly.

Here are a few tips to keep fruit flies at bay in your kitchen:

  • Store ripe and overripe fruits and vegetables in a refrigerator or airtight container.
  • Regularly clean and dispose of any fermenting food residue.
  • Clean up spills, especially sweet and sugary ones, immediately.
  • Use airtight containers or tightly sealed plastic bags for opened food items.
  • Regularly dispose of garbage.

In summary, maintaining a clean kitchen environment, properly storing your produce, and disposing of garbage promptly can help keep fruit flies from taking over your space.

Breeding Grounds And Habitats

Fruit flies are attracted to ripe and fermenting fruits, vegetables, and other organic materials. They lay their eggs on these surfaces, creating a thriving breeding ground for the next generation. In your home, they might choose various places for their habitat.

For example, fruit flies often lay eggs near drains or garbage disposals, where decaying organic matter accumulates. Remember to keep these areas clean and dispose of any food waste promptly to avoid infestation.

Windows and doors with gaps or poor seals may allow fruit flies to enter your home. Check for cracks and openings where these pests may get inside, and seal them for increased protection. Sometimes, they even nest on walls, especially in moist environments such as bathrooms.

Fruit flies can lay eggs in the following areas:

  • Overripe or rotting fruit
  • Trash cans and recycling bins with food waste
  • Damp sponges and mop heads
  • Around sinks and drains

To prevent fruit fly infestations, you can:

  • Dispose of fruits and vegetables before they overripen
  • Clean drains and garbage disposal regularly
  • Seal the gaps around doors and windows
  • Ensure trash cans and recycling bins have tight-fitting lids

By taking these preventive measures, you can reduce the chances of a fruit fly infestation and maintain a clean and safe environment in your home.

External Factors Inviting Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are tiny insects that can be a nuisance in your home. These creatures are attracted to certain external factors that provide them with food sources, breeding grounds, and suitable living conditions. By understanding these factors, you can take steps to prevent infestations and maintain a fruit fly-free environment.

Remember that fruit flies are drawn to overripe fruits, vegetables, and fermenting foods. For example, they are attracted to wine, beer, fruit juice, and vinegar. Try to be cautious of these items in your kitchen and dispose of them quickly when they reach this state.

Regarding entry points, fruit flies can enter through open doors and windows. To minimize this risk, ensure you keep your doors and windows shut or install screens that prevent insects from entering. Other potential entry points include trash bags and garbage disposals. Keeping these areas clean and sealed, as well as taking out your trash regularly, can help deter fruit flies.

In addition to food sources, fruit flies are attracted to old sponges and cleaning rags. These items can trap food particles and moisture, providing a haven for fruit flies to breed and multiply. To mitigate this issue, consider cleaning and replacing these items frequently.

Here’s a quick comparison of the factors that invite fruit flies:

Factor Impact on Fruit Flies Preventive Measures
Overripe fruits Provides food and breeding grounds Dispose of them quickly and store them in a sealed area
Doors & windows Entry points to your home Keep them closed or install screens
Trash bags Contains food waste and potential breeding grounds Seal them tightly and take them out regularly
Garbage disposal Food waste that attracts fruit flies Clean and maintain it regularly
Old sponges Traps food particles and moisture Clean and replace them regularly
Cleaning rags Absorbs food particles and moisture Launder them frequently

By paying attention to these external factors, you can reduce the chances of a fruit fly infestation in your home and enjoy a clean, pest-free environment.

Effects And Problems Of Fruit Fly Infestations

Fruit flies can be a real nuisance in your home, causing problems and inconveniences. You might find them hovering around fruits, vegetables, and other food sources, which can be frustrating to deal with.

These tiny flies, also known as Drosophila, can reproduce rapidly, leading to a full-blown infestation. One of the main concerns is the contamination of food, as they can carry diseases, bacteria, and fungi. This makes them one of the most common household pests.

Moreover, fruit flies can cause significant problems for farmers and the agricultural industry. They can damage crops, leading to a decrease in yield and potentially affecting the local economy. Fruit fly infestations can also result in import restrictions and trade limitations in affected areas.

  • Fruit fly infestations can lead to:
    • Food contamination
    • Rapid reproduction
    • Damage to crops
    • Trade limitations
    • Economic impact on agriculture

To manage a fruit fly infestation in your home, it’s essential to practice good sanitation and food storage habits. Keep fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, clean up spills promptly, and take out the garbage regularly. Additionally, using traps or insecticides can help control the fruit fly population.

Prevention And Control Measures

To prevent fruit flies from infesting your home, you should take a few simple measures. First, make sure to store ripe fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator. This keeps them out of reach for the flies. Additionally, clean up food residue and spills promptly, as this can attract fruit flies.

One way to catch fruit flies is to use a fruit fly trap. You can make one with a container, some plastic wrap, and bait, like a piece of ripe fruit or apple cider vinegar. Poke a few small holes in the wrap, then place the container near the infestation. The flies will enter but have difficulty escaping.

Besides traps, you can also use cleaning methods to get rid of fruit flies. Use mops, sponges, and disinfectants to clean your kitchen area, focusing on all surfaces where food particles may be present. This not only helps prevent fruit flies but also eliminates their breeding grounds.

In cases of severe infestations, consult with professionals and use insecticides as a last resort. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use these products safely and effectively.

Here are some preventive measures to avoid fruit fly infestations:

  • Keep your kitchen and food storage areas clean and tidy
  • Dispose of trash regularly, and ensure that garbage cans have tightly sealed lids
  • Install window screens to prevent fruit flies from entering your home

By following these prevention tips, you can keep fruit flies at bay and maintain a clean and healthy living environment.

Unconventional Methods To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies

Trying something different can often yield great results. Here are some unconventional methods you can use to get rid of fruit flies:

Apple cider vinegar and dish soap trap. A popular method is to mix apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap. The vinegar lures the fruit flies, while the soap traps them. To make this trap, follow these simple steps:

  • Pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar into a shallow dish.
  • Add a few drops of dish soap and mix gently.
  • Cover the dish with plastic wrap and poke small holes in the top.
  • Place the dish near the source of the fruit flies.

Paper funnel and vinegar trap. Another method uses a simple paper funnel and a jar of vinegar. The funnel guides the fruit flies into the jar, making it challenging for them to escape. To create this trap, you’ll need:

  • A sheet of paper rolled into a funnel shape.
  • A jar or container filled with vinegar.
  • Place the funnel in the jar or container, ensuring it doesn’t touch the vinegar.
  • Position the trap near the affected area.

Dealing with drain flies. Sometimes, fruit flies can breed and multiply in your drains. To tackle this issue, try pouring a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water down your drain. This solution helps to clean your drain and eliminate the fruit flies breeding ground.

Here’s a quick comparison table to help you choose the best method for your situation:

Method Pros Cons
Apple cider vinegar & dish soap Easy to set up, common household items Needs regular replacement
Paper funnel & vinegar Traps flies effectively, reusable Requires careful handling, less convenient
Baking soda, vinegar & boiling water Cleans and clears drains May not be effective for all infestations

By trying out these unconventional methods, you can eradicate fruit flies from your space and enjoy a pest-free home.

The Role Of Fruit Flies In Natural Environments

Fruit flies play a significant role in natural environments. As insects, they contribute to the decomposition process of rotting fruits and foods. They help break down organic matter and promote the growth of bacteria, which further aids in decomposition.

In their larvae stage, they feed on the moist surface of decomposing organic materials, such as ripening and rotting fruits. This process not only helps in breaking down the waste but also serves as a vital food source for the larvae. Additionally, fruit flies are attracted to alcohol, which is a byproduct of fermentation. This is why you might often find them in places like bathrooms and kitchens where moisture is present.

Outdoors, fruit flies can be helpful in breaking down rotting fruits that have fallen from trees. This aids the growth of bacteria, speeding up the decomposition process. They also serve as a food source for other animals in the ecosystem, making them an essential part of the food chain.

To sum up, fruit flies play an essential role in natural environments by:

  • Contributing to the decomposition of rotting fruits and foods
  • Promoting the growth of bacteria
  • Serving as a food source for other animals in the ecosystem

Remember that maintaining cleanliness in your surroundings can prevent fruit fly infestations in your home, while their presence in nature is crucial for a healthy ecosystem.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Fruit Fly: Is it related to MORGELLONs Disease?

 

Family is constantly ill with MORGELLONs Disease?
Location: Northern California Contra Costa County
November 5, 2010 2:41 pm
Hello,
My family has become increasingly ill. We were part of a CDC Kaiser Nor Cal investingation of the disease called Morgellons. I keep finding these flies on our sliding glass doors to our yard. Can you please identify this creature and if it is a clue to what is keeping us ill.
Signature: Anna R Key

Fruit Fly

Dear Anna,
We sympathize with your family’s bout with Morgellon’s disease and we have had some recent dialog with the syndrome on a Delusory Parasitosis posting.  The photo you have attached is blurry, but we are relatively certain this is a Fruit Fly in the genus
Rhagoletis, based on research we did on BugGuide.  These Fruit Flies are not disease vectors for humans.  In our opinion, your specimen looks the most like the Eastern Cherry Fruit Fly, Rhagoletis cingulata, which BugGuide has reported from Washington State.

Letter 2 – Fruit Fly from Egypt

 

could not identify this fly
Location: riyadh, saudi arabia
January 24, 2012 10:39 am
i have searched the internet and asked some people but still know nothing about it,the fly interested me with its unusual wings there are picture of an insect on them. so i caught it around afternoon under a clear sky in a cold day where the temperature was 14-9 c not far from my orange tree in my home Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. thank you for this chance and any idea will be grateful.
Signature: by keyobo

Unknown Fruit Fly

Dear keyobo,
While we don’t have an actual identification, we do have an idea.  In our opinion, this is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae.  We will link to the BugGuide page of North American species for comparison.  We haven’t had any luck identifying any Egyptian possibilities.  Many Fruit Flies are important agricultural pests, especially if they are introduced from exotic locations. 

Letter 3 – Fruit Fly from Chile

 

Fly of Atacama Desert
Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 4:16 PM
Your letter to the bugman (please provide as much narrative and information as possible)
I found this fly in a garden of the coastal city of Antofagsta, Atacama Desert, Chile. Sitting on a leaf of a palm tree.
The size was 5mm approx.
Very interesting the pattern on the wings and the color.
Thanks for your help.
desert fly
North of Chile, desert, coast

Unknown Fly from Chile
Fruit Fly from Chile

Dear desert fly,
We are uncertain of the exact identiy of your beautiful Chilean desert Fly, but we will post the image in the hopes one of our readers will be able to identify its family or species before we can.

Update:
Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 9:19 PM
Hi Daniel:
This is a fruit fly (family Tephritidae) in the genus Trupanea. There are about 70 species in the neotropics, including at least four in Chile (T. bullocki, T. nigriseta, T. nymphula and T. simpatrica). Most look quite similar and apparently all the neotropical species feed on Asteraceae hosts(asters, daisies and sunflowers) as larvae. There are also 21 nearctic species according to the Bugguide, most in the USA. The Bugguide site has some good images that look very similar to the Chilean fly. Regards.
Karl
Link: http://bugguide.net/node/view/94894#counts

Letter 4 – Fruit Fly: Euarestoides acutangulus

 

Subject: WTB?!
Location: Denver area (larva); east of Phoenix (Thrips & E. acutangulus)
December 12, 2016 10:37 pm
Hello,
I’m trying to positively identify three insects so their Genus species can be part of the file name which will have the Genus species of the flowering plant, too. (You’ll see.)
I’ll include all three images and note that I’m pretty sure I’ve tracked down the fruit fly name, Euarestoides acutangulus, though if you think otherwise, I’m all ears. Or, at least, eyes.
The (I think sawfly) larva is on a pincushion cactus blossom and might be two inches long? This is mid-May along the southern edge of the Denver area (Highland Ranch).
The Thrips is on a Mexican gold poppy, while the fruit fly is on a desert chicory. Both were shot in mid-March, east of Phoenix at about 2,100 feet elevation.
I appreciate your even taking the time to consider these.
Best,
Signature: Mark Bennett

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

Dear Mark,
We are more than happy to attempt your identifications, but we do have several requests.  First, please confine any future submissions to a single species, with the only exceptions being closely related species observed at the same time, like two swallowtail butterflies visiting the same blossoms, or if there is a predator/prey relationship documented.  Multiple species not all observed at the same time or place does create problems for us in the archive process.  Also please include higher resolution images that are not cropped too tightly.  We are currently attempting to standardize the images on our site to 800 pixels wide by 550 pixels high at 72 dpi.  All your submitted images are considerably smaller and they are odd shaped crops.  We agree that your Fruit Fly is
Euarestoides acutangulus based on the wing patterns evident in several BugGuide images, but BugGuide has no information on the species, which is reported in Arizona.  It is also pictured on iNaturalist.  According to ResearchGate:  “Information on the life cycle of Euarestoides acutangulus (Thomson), including observations on feeding and reproductive behavior, is presented. The fly is bivoltine in central coastal California, with overwintering occurring as diapausing pupae. Eggs were laid in the staminate florets of the host plant, Ambrosia chamissonis (Lessing) Greene (Compositae), and hatched in 4 days. Larvae fed upon the anthers of unopened florets. The amount of damage caused to a staminate head depended upon the number of larvae reaching maturity and the number of florets within the head. Larvae generally completed development in 23 days. Pupation occurred among the destroyed florets. The pupal period of non-diapausing pupae required 12 days.”  The host plant, according to CalFlora, is ” a dicot, is a perennial herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America.” 

Hello Daniel,
Here are the three images in their uncropped state. Note, these uncropped images are artwork to me, not science. As such, they are entered in competition at a gallery and could, with luck and the favor of the judges, be selected for display. And, with more luck and perseverance, become salable prints. THUS, please observe my copyright restrictions — you may use the images on your web site and archive, for educational purposes, but they can not be reproduced or shared or in any method used for commercial purposes by you, What’s That Bug?, or any other entity without my express permission. If these terms are acceptable, and accepted, then we’re good. If not, then please delete the attached file(s).
Thanks. I do hope these help the organization.
Mark
Mark Bennett Photography
markbennettphoto.com

Rafinesequia neomexicana blossom Euarestoides acutangulus fruit fly desert-chicory 20130316 10cc
Rafinesequia neomexicana blossom
Euarestoides acutangulus fruit fly
desert-chicory 20130316 10cc

Dear Mark,
Thanks for providing the higher resolution files.  Just so you know, the maximum size file we post is 800 pixels by 550 pixels at 72 dpi, so they will not be suitable for reproduction purposes should anyone download images from our site.  We do respect your wishes.  We occasionally allow images from our site to be used for non-profit, educational purposes, but we always request that the person requesting the use place a comment on the posting.  Since we are including a link to your site with the posting, people can contact you directly.  We will be cropping your high resolution images and moving your copyright information so it is embedded in the image.  Thanks again.

Letter 5 – Fruit Fly: Eurosta comma

 

Subject: Another half bee half fly.
Location: Midwestern United States
September 11, 2013 6:32 pm
I can’t identify this insect. Any help?
Signature: Josh

Fruit Fly:  Eurosta comma
Fruit Fly: Eurosta comma

Dear Josh,
Your photo isn’t that sharp, but based on this image from BugGuide, we believe this is a Fruit Fly,
Eurosta comma.

Letter 6 – Fruit Fly from Brazil

 

Fruit fly
Location: Pirituba, São Paulo, Brazil
January 6, 2012 5:27 pm
Hi, it’s me again.
As I noticed that the only photo you have of Euaresta flies is a blurry one, I’m sending this photos.
category/flies/fruit-flies/page/2/
It really looks like Euaresta festiva, but I observed that the wing patterns does not match 100% and I don’t think the plant where I find them is an Ambrosia trifida. I don’t see a closer species on internet.
This canadian site is a great source to identify Tephritidae.
Signature: Cesar Crash

Fruit Fly

Hi Cesar,
Thank you for sending these images of a Brazilian Fruit Fly.  We agree that your fly does resemble
Euaresta festiva as pictured on BugGuide, but the range seems to be more northern, so we doubt it is a correct species match, however, it is possibly closely related.

Fruit Fly

It seems that I forgot the link. Here it is:
http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/ejournal/jmhn_15/Galleries/TephritidaeWingPlates/wingalbum/wings.html.

This is another one:
http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/ejournal/jmhn_15/Galleries/TephritidaeWingPlates/wingalbum/wings.html

Sorry for the english mistakes.

Fruit Fly from Brazil

Thanks for the links Cesar.  Your English is fine.  It is much better than our Portuguese. 

 

Letter 7 – Fruit Fly from Tanzania

 

Possible fly from Tanzania?
Location: Simanjiro, Tanzania
March 2, 2012 4:11 am
This is a little beastie that landed on me a couple of weeks ago here in the Tanzanian savanna. I realise it’s a long-shot asking for an indeitification, but I’m hoping someone can at least help with a family! It looks rather like a hoverfly type, but has an impressive ovipositor. Maybe it really is some sort of wasp? It’s pretty small – that’s my wrist it’s sitting on. Any help welcome! Thanks!
Signature: Colin

Fruit Fly

Dear Colin,
This is some species of Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae, but we are uncertain of the species.

Thank’s very much! That’s good enough for me. Now I need to work out why…
C

Hi again Colin,
We are not certain about your pondering “why”.  If you are wondering why it landed on your arm, we suppose it was just to rest.  Flies often alight on handy surfaces that have no bearing of food source.  By the way, that is an ovipositor.

No, not why it was there, but why that group as opposed to all other fly / wasp options! The taxonomy puzzles me…
C

We can’t say anything more convincing than that they look like other members of the family.

Letter 8 – Fruit Fly on Woody Plant

 

Subject:  I finally got a photo of this fly on my Cannabis
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 08/14/2019
Time: 08:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I have been seeing this small yellow fly with very pretty wings, about a quarter of an inch long, resting on the leaves of my medical marijuana plants for the past two years, but this is the first time I was able to get some photos.  Please identify this fly and let me know if it will harm my medication.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Fruit Fly:  Paracantha cultaris

Dear Constant Gardener,
This identification proved challenging for us.  We had no luck searching Fruit Flies in the family Tephritidae on Natural History of Orange County, so we browsed through BugGuide where we located
Paracantha cultaris.  According to BugGuide, the hosts are “on Cirsium (Asteraceae)”, so your medical Cannabis should be safe.  According to iNaturalist:  “The adult is mainly orange-brown in color. The maggots can be found inside sunflowers and the adult flies are usually nearby the sunflowers.”

Fruit Fly:  Paracantha cultaris

Thanks Bugman,
That makes sense because I also have sunflowers growing nearby.

 

Letter 9 – Fruit Fly, possibly Bubble Gall Tephritid or closely related species.

 

Subject: Fly identification
Location: Colorado
March 21, 2014 6:51 pm
Hi,
I have a couple of flies that I haven’t been able to identify.
The first I thought would be easy, however, I’m coming up empty! I’ve Googled lots of phrases, and gone through the photos on here (I think I hit them all), but didn’t see any matches. This one was in late June of 2010 in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO.
The second and third are of the same insect. I believe is a picture-wing fly, but it could also be a fruit fly, as it’s a very tiny insect. This one was in late May of 2012 in Red Rocks in Morrison, CO.
Thank you so much for your help! (Also, your book is fabulous!)
Signature: Amy

Fruit Fly:  possibly Aciurina trixa
Fruit Fly: possibly Aciurina trixa

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the compliment and we are happy to hear you enjoyed The Curious World of Bugs.  We believe your second fly is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae, not a Picture Winged Fly.  The closest match we were able to locate on BugGuide is the Bubble Gall Tephritid,
Aciurina trixa, though the pattern on the wings of the single individual posted to BugGuide is a bit different.  The photographer did make this note regarding an unpictured species in the same genus:  “This keyed to Aciurina bigeloviae in the excellent 1993 reference by Foote, Blanc, and Norrbom(1), and everything fit well (e.g. descriptions, wing diagram, location, host plant). Foote et al. mentioned that two other species had been synonymized with A. bigeloviae by Styeyskal in 1984, and that this was the most widespread and commonly encountered species of all the Chrysothamnus-feeding Aciurina…as well as the most variable. (In fact, the detailed synonymy and references for A. bigeloviae take up an entire page in their book!).”  So, we believe we have the genus correct, but the species remains questionable.  Your individual is a female based on the presence of the ovipositor.

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

 

Letter 10 – Fruit Fly, possibly Euleia fratria

 

Subject:  Yellow blue-eyed fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Long Beach, CA
Date: 03/05/2019
Time: 11:28 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Never seen this fly before. Suddenly noticed them around my work office. It’s been unusually rainy the last few months. Not sure if it’s related at all. It’s eyes look green in the picture, but they’re really a purplish blue. Please identity!
How you want your letter signed:  Curious

Fruit Fly

Dear Curious,
This is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae, and it reminds us of
Euleia fratria which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide: the larvae are “Leaf miners in parsnip and other Apiaceae and Asteraceae” plant families well represented in Longbeach.

Thanks! I had looked up California fruit flies from and no results like this one. Happy to know 🙂
Thanks again for replying.

Letter 11 – Fruit Fly

 

Green-eyed bug
July 18, 2009
Hi, We have an artichoke that had flowered in a vase of water. Yesterday the blue filaments on the plant began to move. Then these bugs (flies?) began to emerge, some more mature than others. They’re 7/16″ long and have bright green eyes with a dark horizontal slit through the center. Any idea what they are? I found your wonderful site while trying to identify them. I’m sorry that I don’t have a better camera. Thank you.
DJ
San Francisco, Ca.

Fruit Flies
Fruit Flies

Dear DJ,
We quickly identified your fly as a Fruit Fly in the genus Neaspilota on BugGuide, but there was no relevant information on the information page.
One series of photos from Orange County CA posted to BugGuide shows this Fruit Fly on thistle, and the poster of the photos indicates:  “I saw this species last year, and it got me hooked on macrophotography. They burrow into thistle, and the one I saw last year apparently stayed in the same bloom for a couple of days. Face has sort of a mask appearance.”  On that posting, Eric Eaton provided this comment:  “Most fruit flies are pests, but a few species have been introduced to North America from elsewhere to battle invasive plants like….thistles! I can’t give you a genus, so am placing this in the family guide page for now. Nice work, and excellent documentation of the behavior!”  The comment does not state where the fly was imported from, so we are going to try to research that bit of information. That search led us to a Neaspilota page with many of the BugGuide images by Ron Hemberger, that was part of our new favorite website, the Natural History of Orange County.  We still did not have the information we desired, so we quested again.  We found a page on the Life History of Neaspilota, but no clue as to its origin.

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

I never dreamed you would get back to me so fast! Thank you for the detailed report. This was a fun
experience. I like your site and I just sent you a little money.  Doug

Update: May 22, 2011
We now believe this may be an introduced Fruit Fly that feeds on artichokes,
Terellia fuscicornis, which is represented on BugGuide.

Letter 12 – Fruit Fly

 

spikey wings, green eyes, orange yellow body
Location:  Central Wisconsin
August 13, 2010 7:37 pm
I must first say that I love this site and have forwarded yor website to numberous people. I have also identified numerous bugs from your site. The attached photos are blurry – I’m sorry – it was moving around and I couldn’t focus so if its too bad of a photo I am sorry. I live in central wisconsin and was taking pics of my monarch catipillars out in my yard when this strange bug appeared on the milkweed plant, BIG Green eyes, yellow body and spikey wings, I’ve searched and cannot find anything
Amy Hussin

Fruit Fly

Hi Amy,
This is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae.  The photo is too blurry to be certain, but we believe this might be
Euaresta festiva, a species, BugGuide says whose:  “larvae feed on a single species: Great Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida)” which should make it a friend of hay fever sufferers.

thank you SO much –
you all ROCK!

Letter 13 – Fruit Fly

 

What is this yellow bug?
Location: Southeast Michigan, Detroit surburb
November 14, 2010 9:25 pm
This yellow bug was on a peony blossom in my surburban Detroit backyard mid-day earlier this summer. It makes a great photo and I’d sure like to know what it is.
Signature: Jeanette

Fruit Fly

Hi Jeanette,
We identified your insect as a Fruit Fly in the genus
Strauzia based on photos posted to BugGuide.  The patterns on the wings are quite distinctive.

Fruit Fly

THANK YOU for the identification!!!
This is a way cool web site and a fine service to ID the bug for me!  Those wing patterns are most unique, indeed!
Thanks!!
Jeanette

Letter 14 – Fruit Fly

 

Yellow Mystery Fly and Spiny Oak Slug
Location: Kirksville, MO
August 30, 2011 12:49 pm
Hi again,
I’m fortunate enough to have a rather nice restored tallgrass prairie a short drive away from my apartment. There is a plethora of fascinating bugs there, most of which can be identified outright, or with a little researching. I have to admit, though, this fly has me absolutely stumped. I’m not sure if this helps, but it was resting on some ironweed when I snapped the photo.
I was rather happy, however, that thanks to your site I was able to quickly identify the spiny oak slugs that had taken up residence on a white oak at work. It seems like every time I walk by that tree I see more of them (and look, but don’t touch).
PS – The tick bites are still itching. If I had known it was going to be this bad, I would have bought stock in the producers of hydrocortisone!
Signature: EB

Fruit Fly

Dear EB,
Thanks to BugGuide, we were able to identify your Fruit Fly as
Icterica seriata, and the only information BugGuide includes on the information page is:  “Larvae feed in the flowerheads of Bidens species.”  The ironweed your individual was resting on is not the Bidens mentioned as a larval food.  We did find this nice profile of Bidens frondosa on the Missouri Plants website.

Letter 15 – Fruit Fly

 

Subject: Orange Eyes!
Location: Andover, NJ, backyard
July 18, 2012 1:47 pm
Okay, here’s one for you … I found this yellow fly on one of my sunflowers today. It is quite small, so had to crop the heck out of these pictures. One gives you a good look at the body, which looks fly-like to me; while the other gives you some detail on the wings, which are gorgeous. Hope you can id this little thing for me…
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Fruit Fly: Strauzia species

Hi Deborah,
We believe we have correctly identified (much quicker than we would have expected) your Fruit Fly as a member of the genus Strauzia based on these BugGuide photos where it is stated:  “Larvae bore in stems of Asteraceae, including sunflowers”

Thanks, Daniel!  Interestingly, I found an assassin bug nymph (thanks to an ID by you last year) on the same sunflower, so it is possible that the fruit fly will become a meal at some point.  Hopefully, I can get some better pictures of the fruit fly before nature runs its course…
Debbi

Letter 16 – Fruit Fly

 

Subject: Bizarre Stripey-Eyed Alien-Looking Fruit Fly?
Location: Del Mar, CA
March 20, 2013 5:48 pm
Hi, it’s Darlene, the bug wrangler from last year’s moth night. I found this bizarre looking bug on May 7, 2011 in Del Mar, CA on a cold and cloudy day. It was hanging out on a railing at a delicious burrito stand. I’ve never seen striped eyes like that. I believe it’s a fruit fly. I love the white dots and the white border on the wings.
Signature: Darlabutterfly

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

Hi again Darlene,
Bingo on the Fruit Fly identification.  We believe we have correctly identified it as a member of the genus
Eutreta thanks to images posted to BugGuide where it states they are:  “gall-formers on Asteraceae.”

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

Letter 17 – Fruit Fly

 

Subject: What’s My Bug
Location: Colorado
July 3, 2015 6:48 pm
I photographed this little guy at a place called Crystal Lake, about 50 miles outside of Denver, Colorado. I really love his eyes. Can you tell me what he is please?
Signature: Ornithocheirus

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

Dear Ornithocheirus,
Based on images posted to BugGuide, we have identified your Fruit Fly as a member of the genus
Paracantha, however the three species listed look remarkably similar and Colorado seems to be within the range of all three species, so we are reluctant to go further than identifying the genus.

Letter 18 – Fruit Fly

 

Subject:  Unknown “Picturewing Fly”?
Geographic location of the bug:  Amherst MA, USA
Date: 08/18/2018
Time: 01:39 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I photographed this fly in 2004 and have never asked anyone to identify it.
How you want your letter signed:  Joseph G. Kunkel

Fruit Fly

Dear Joseph,
This is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae, and based on this BugGuide image, it is in the genus
Eutreta.   According to BugGuide, they are “Gall-formers on Asteraceae” and the habitat is “Coastal Dunes, Woodlands.”

Letter 19 – Flutter Fly

 

suicidal tiny fly with spotted wings & sharp stinger
October 11, 2009
i spotted this on the bathroom sink. it looked like it had antlers instead of wings. upon closer inspection with the assist of a macro image i was surprised to see what appeared to be a sharp stinger. it stayed still for quite a while, then it suddenly hopped into the toilet and disappeared with an eventual flush. it was too late to save it. i hope it wasn’t some endangered species of a fly.
guilty for flushing it away
western north carolina

Fruit Fly
Flutter Fly

Dear guilty,
This is some species of Fruit Fly in the family Tephritiae.  There are may species posted on BugGuide but we did not locate a match for your image.  What you have mistaken for a stinger is the ovipositor of the female Fruit Fly.

Daniel:
The “unknown fruit fly” from western North Carolina is actually a “flutter fly” in the family Pallopteridae, closely allied to the true fruit flies.  Not much is known about them because they are not of great economic importance.
Eric

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Fruit Fly: Is it related to MORGELLONs Disease?

 

Family is constantly ill with MORGELLONs Disease?
Location: Northern California Contra Costa County
November 5, 2010 2:41 pm
Hello,
My family has become increasingly ill. We were part of a CDC Kaiser Nor Cal investingation of the disease called Morgellons. I keep finding these flies on our sliding glass doors to our yard. Can you please identify this creature and if it is a clue to what is keeping us ill.
Signature: Anna R Key

Fruit Fly

Dear Anna,
We sympathize with your family’s bout with Morgellon’s disease and we have had some recent dialog with the syndrome on a Delusory Parasitosis posting.  The photo you have attached is blurry, but we are relatively certain this is a Fruit Fly in the genus
Rhagoletis, based on research we did on BugGuide.  These Fruit Flies are not disease vectors for humans.  In our opinion, your specimen looks the most like the Eastern Cherry Fruit Fly, Rhagoletis cingulata, which BugGuide has reported from Washington State.

Letter 2 – Fruit Fly from Egypt

 

could not identify this fly
Location: riyadh, saudi arabia
January 24, 2012 10:39 am
i have searched the internet and asked some people but still know nothing about it,the fly interested me with its unusual wings there are picture of an insect on them. so i caught it around afternoon under a clear sky in a cold day where the temperature was 14-9 c not far from my orange tree in my home Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. thank you for this chance and any idea will be grateful.
Signature: by keyobo

Unknown Fruit Fly

Dear keyobo,
While we don’t have an actual identification, we do have an idea.  In our opinion, this is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae.  We will link to the BugGuide page of North American species for comparison.  We haven’t had any luck identifying any Egyptian possibilities.  Many Fruit Flies are important agricultural pests, especially if they are introduced from exotic locations. 

Letter 3 – Fruit Fly from Chile

 

Fly of Atacama Desert
Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 4:16 PM
Your letter to the bugman (please provide as much narrative and information as possible)
I found this fly in a garden of the coastal city of Antofagsta, Atacama Desert, Chile. Sitting on a leaf of a palm tree.
The size was 5mm approx.
Very interesting the pattern on the wings and the color.
Thanks for your help.
desert fly
North of Chile, desert, coast

Unknown Fly from Chile
Fruit Fly from Chile

Dear desert fly,
We are uncertain of the exact identiy of your beautiful Chilean desert Fly, but we will post the image in the hopes one of our readers will be able to identify its family or species before we can.

Update:
Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 9:19 PM
Hi Daniel:
This is a fruit fly (family Tephritidae) in the genus Trupanea. There are about 70 species in the neotropics, including at least four in Chile (T. bullocki, T. nigriseta, T. nymphula and T. simpatrica). Most look quite similar and apparently all the neotropical species feed on Asteraceae hosts(asters, daisies and sunflowers) as larvae. There are also 21 nearctic species according to the Bugguide, most in the USA. The Bugguide site has some good images that look very similar to the Chilean fly. Regards.
Karl
Link: http://bugguide.net/node/view/94894#counts

Letter 4 – Fruit Fly: Euarestoides acutangulus

 

Subject: WTB?!
Location: Denver area (larva); east of Phoenix (Thrips & E. acutangulus)
December 12, 2016 10:37 pm
Hello,
I’m trying to positively identify three insects so their Genus species can be part of the file name which will have the Genus species of the flowering plant, too. (You’ll see.)
I’ll include all three images and note that I’m pretty sure I’ve tracked down the fruit fly name, Euarestoides acutangulus, though if you think otherwise, I’m all ears. Or, at least, eyes.
The (I think sawfly) larva is on a pincushion cactus blossom and might be two inches long? This is mid-May along the southern edge of the Denver area (Highland Ranch).
The Thrips is on a Mexican gold poppy, while the fruit fly is on a desert chicory. Both were shot in mid-March, east of Phoenix at about 2,100 feet elevation.
I appreciate your even taking the time to consider these.
Best,
Signature: Mark Bennett

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

Dear Mark,
We are more than happy to attempt your identifications, but we do have several requests.  First, please confine any future submissions to a single species, with the only exceptions being closely related species observed at the same time, like two swallowtail butterflies visiting the same blossoms, or if there is a predator/prey relationship documented.  Multiple species not all observed at the same time or place does create problems for us in the archive process.  Also please include higher resolution images that are not cropped too tightly.  We are currently attempting to standardize the images on our site to 800 pixels wide by 550 pixels high at 72 dpi.  All your submitted images are considerably smaller and they are odd shaped crops.  We agree that your Fruit Fly is
Euarestoides acutangulus based on the wing patterns evident in several BugGuide images, but BugGuide has no information on the species, which is reported in Arizona.  It is also pictured on iNaturalist.  According to ResearchGate:  “Information on the life cycle of Euarestoides acutangulus (Thomson), including observations on feeding and reproductive behavior, is presented. The fly is bivoltine in central coastal California, with overwintering occurring as diapausing pupae. Eggs were laid in the staminate florets of the host plant, Ambrosia chamissonis (Lessing) Greene (Compositae), and hatched in 4 days. Larvae fed upon the anthers of unopened florets. The amount of damage caused to a staminate head depended upon the number of larvae reaching maturity and the number of florets within the head. Larvae generally completed development in 23 days. Pupation occurred among the destroyed florets. The pupal period of non-diapausing pupae required 12 days.”  The host plant, according to CalFlora, is ” a dicot, is a perennial herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America.” 

Hello Daniel,
Here are the three images in their uncropped state. Note, these uncropped images are artwork to me, not science. As such, they are entered in competition at a gallery and could, with luck and the favor of the judges, be selected for display. And, with more luck and perseverance, become salable prints. THUS, please observe my copyright restrictions — you may use the images on your web site and archive, for educational purposes, but they can not be reproduced or shared or in any method used for commercial purposes by you, What’s That Bug?, or any other entity without my express permission. If these terms are acceptable, and accepted, then we’re good. If not, then please delete the attached file(s).
Thanks. I do hope these help the organization.
Mark
Mark Bennett Photography
markbennettphoto.com

Rafinesequia neomexicana blossom Euarestoides acutangulus fruit fly desert-chicory 20130316 10cc
Rafinesequia neomexicana blossom
Euarestoides acutangulus fruit fly
desert-chicory 20130316 10cc

Dear Mark,
Thanks for providing the higher resolution files.  Just so you know, the maximum size file we post is 800 pixels by 550 pixels at 72 dpi, so they will not be suitable for reproduction purposes should anyone download images from our site.  We do respect your wishes.  We occasionally allow images from our site to be used for non-profit, educational purposes, but we always request that the person requesting the use place a comment on the posting.  Since we are including a link to your site with the posting, people can contact you directly.  We will be cropping your high resolution images and moving your copyright information so it is embedded in the image.  Thanks again.

Letter 5 – Fruit Fly: Eurosta comma

 

Subject: Another half bee half fly.
Location: Midwestern United States
September 11, 2013 6:32 pm
I can’t identify this insect. Any help?
Signature: Josh

Fruit Fly:  Eurosta comma
Fruit Fly: Eurosta comma

Dear Josh,
Your photo isn’t that sharp, but based on this image from BugGuide, we believe this is a Fruit Fly,
Eurosta comma.

Letter 6 – Fruit Fly from Brazil

 

Fruit fly
Location: Pirituba, São Paulo, Brazil
January 6, 2012 5:27 pm
Hi, it’s me again.
As I noticed that the only photo you have of Euaresta flies is a blurry one, I’m sending this photos.
category/flies/fruit-flies/page/2/
It really looks like Euaresta festiva, but I observed that the wing patterns does not match 100% and I don’t think the plant where I find them is an Ambrosia trifida. I don’t see a closer species on internet.
This canadian site is a great source to identify Tephritidae.
Signature: Cesar Crash

Fruit Fly

Hi Cesar,
Thank you for sending these images of a Brazilian Fruit Fly.  We agree that your fly does resemble
Euaresta festiva as pictured on BugGuide, but the range seems to be more northern, so we doubt it is a correct species match, however, it is possibly closely related.

Fruit Fly

It seems that I forgot the link. Here it is:
http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/ejournal/jmhn_15/Galleries/TephritidaeWingPlates/wingalbum/wings.html.

This is another one:
http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/ejournal/jmhn_15/Galleries/TephritidaeWingPlates/wingalbum/wings.html

Sorry for the english mistakes.

Fruit Fly from Brazil

Thanks for the links Cesar.  Your English is fine.  It is much better than our Portuguese. 

 

Letter 7 – Fruit Fly from Tanzania

 

Possible fly from Tanzania?
Location: Simanjiro, Tanzania
March 2, 2012 4:11 am
This is a little beastie that landed on me a couple of weeks ago here in the Tanzanian savanna. I realise it’s a long-shot asking for an indeitification, but I’m hoping someone can at least help with a family! It looks rather like a hoverfly type, but has an impressive ovipositor. Maybe it really is some sort of wasp? It’s pretty small – that’s my wrist it’s sitting on. Any help welcome! Thanks!
Signature: Colin

Fruit Fly

Dear Colin,
This is some species of Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae, but we are uncertain of the species.

Thank’s very much! That’s good enough for me. Now I need to work out why…
C

Hi again Colin,
We are not certain about your pondering “why”.  If you are wondering why it landed on your arm, we suppose it was just to rest.  Flies often alight on handy surfaces that have no bearing of food source.  By the way, that is an ovipositor.

No, not why it was there, but why that group as opposed to all other fly / wasp options! The taxonomy puzzles me…
C

We can’t say anything more convincing than that they look like other members of the family.

Letter 8 – Fruit Fly on Woody Plant

 

Subject:  I finally got a photo of this fly on my Cannabis
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 08/14/2019
Time: 08:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I have been seeing this small yellow fly with very pretty wings, about a quarter of an inch long, resting on the leaves of my medical marijuana plants for the past two years, but this is the first time I was able to get some photos.  Please identify this fly and let me know if it will harm my medication.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Fruit Fly:  Paracantha cultaris

Dear Constant Gardener,
This identification proved challenging for us.  We had no luck searching Fruit Flies in the family Tephritidae on Natural History of Orange County, so we browsed through BugGuide where we located
Paracantha cultaris.  According to BugGuide, the hosts are “on Cirsium (Asteraceae)”, so your medical Cannabis should be safe.  According to iNaturalist:  “The adult is mainly orange-brown in color. The maggots can be found inside sunflowers and the adult flies are usually nearby the sunflowers.”

Fruit Fly:  Paracantha cultaris

Thanks Bugman,
That makes sense because I also have sunflowers growing nearby.

 

Letter 9 – Fruit Fly, possibly Bubble Gall Tephritid or closely related species.

 

Subject: Fly identification
Location: Colorado
March 21, 2014 6:51 pm
Hi,
I have a couple of flies that I haven’t been able to identify.
The first I thought would be easy, however, I’m coming up empty! I’ve Googled lots of phrases, and gone through the photos on here (I think I hit them all), but didn’t see any matches. This one was in late June of 2010 in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO.
The second and third are of the same insect. I believe is a picture-wing fly, but it could also be a fruit fly, as it’s a very tiny insect. This one was in late May of 2012 in Red Rocks in Morrison, CO.
Thank you so much for your help! (Also, your book is fabulous!)
Signature: Amy

Fruit Fly:  possibly Aciurina trixa
Fruit Fly: possibly Aciurina trixa

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the compliment and we are happy to hear you enjoyed The Curious World of Bugs.  We believe your second fly is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae, not a Picture Winged Fly.  The closest match we were able to locate on BugGuide is the Bubble Gall Tephritid,
Aciurina trixa, though the pattern on the wings of the single individual posted to BugGuide is a bit different.  The photographer did make this note regarding an unpictured species in the same genus:  “This keyed to Aciurina bigeloviae in the excellent 1993 reference by Foote, Blanc, and Norrbom(1), and everything fit well (e.g. descriptions, wing diagram, location, host plant). Foote et al. mentioned that two other species had been synonymized with A. bigeloviae by Styeyskal in 1984, and that this was the most widespread and commonly encountered species of all the Chrysothamnus-feeding Aciurina…as well as the most variable. (In fact, the detailed synonymy and references for A. bigeloviae take up an entire page in their book!).”  So, we believe we have the genus correct, but the species remains questionable.  Your individual is a female based on the presence of the ovipositor.

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

 

Letter 10 – Fruit Fly, possibly Euleia fratria

 

Subject:  Yellow blue-eyed fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Long Beach, CA
Date: 03/05/2019
Time: 11:28 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Never seen this fly before. Suddenly noticed them around my work office. It’s been unusually rainy the last few months. Not sure if it’s related at all. It’s eyes look green in the picture, but they’re really a purplish blue. Please identity!
How you want your letter signed:  Curious

Fruit Fly

Dear Curious,
This is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae, and it reminds us of
Euleia fratria which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide: the larvae are “Leaf miners in parsnip and other Apiaceae and Asteraceae” plant families well represented in Longbeach.

Thanks! I had looked up California fruit flies from and no results like this one. Happy to know 🙂
Thanks again for replying.

Letter 11 – Fruit Fly

 

Green-eyed bug
July 18, 2009
Hi, We have an artichoke that had flowered in a vase of water. Yesterday the blue filaments on the plant began to move. Then these bugs (flies?) began to emerge, some more mature than others. They’re 7/16″ long and have bright green eyes with a dark horizontal slit through the center. Any idea what they are? I found your wonderful site while trying to identify them. I’m sorry that I don’t have a better camera. Thank you.
DJ
San Francisco, Ca.

Fruit Flies
Fruit Flies

Dear DJ,
We quickly identified your fly as a Fruit Fly in the genus Neaspilota on BugGuide, but there was no relevant information on the information page.
One series of photos from Orange County CA posted to BugGuide shows this Fruit Fly on thistle, and the poster of the photos indicates:  “I saw this species last year, and it got me hooked on macrophotography. They burrow into thistle, and the one I saw last year apparently stayed in the same bloom for a couple of days. Face has sort of a mask appearance.”  On that posting, Eric Eaton provided this comment:  “Most fruit flies are pests, but a few species have been introduced to North America from elsewhere to battle invasive plants like….thistles! I can’t give you a genus, so am placing this in the family guide page for now. Nice work, and excellent documentation of the behavior!”  The comment does not state where the fly was imported from, so we are going to try to research that bit of information. That search led us to a Neaspilota page with many of the BugGuide images by Ron Hemberger, that was part of our new favorite website, the Natural History of Orange County.  We still did not have the information we desired, so we quested again.  We found a page on the Life History of Neaspilota, but no clue as to its origin.

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

I never dreamed you would get back to me so fast! Thank you for the detailed report. This was a fun
experience. I like your site and I just sent you a little money.  Doug

Update: May 22, 2011
We now believe this may be an introduced Fruit Fly that feeds on artichokes,
Terellia fuscicornis, which is represented on BugGuide.

Letter 12 – Fruit Fly

 

spikey wings, green eyes, orange yellow body
Location:  Central Wisconsin
August 13, 2010 7:37 pm
I must first say that I love this site and have forwarded yor website to numberous people. I have also identified numerous bugs from your site. The attached photos are blurry – I’m sorry – it was moving around and I couldn’t focus so if its too bad of a photo I am sorry. I live in central wisconsin and was taking pics of my monarch catipillars out in my yard when this strange bug appeared on the milkweed plant, BIG Green eyes, yellow body and spikey wings, I’ve searched and cannot find anything
Amy Hussin

Fruit Fly

Hi Amy,
This is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae.  The photo is too blurry to be certain, but we believe this might be
Euaresta festiva, a species, BugGuide says whose:  “larvae feed on a single species: Great Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida)” which should make it a friend of hay fever sufferers.

thank you SO much –
you all ROCK!

Letter 13 – Fruit Fly

 

What is this yellow bug?
Location: Southeast Michigan, Detroit surburb
November 14, 2010 9:25 pm
This yellow bug was on a peony blossom in my surburban Detroit backyard mid-day earlier this summer. It makes a great photo and I’d sure like to know what it is.
Signature: Jeanette

Fruit Fly

Hi Jeanette,
We identified your insect as a Fruit Fly in the genus
Strauzia based on photos posted to BugGuide.  The patterns on the wings are quite distinctive.

Fruit Fly

THANK YOU for the identification!!!
This is a way cool web site and a fine service to ID the bug for me!  Those wing patterns are most unique, indeed!
Thanks!!
Jeanette

Letter 14 – Fruit Fly

 

Yellow Mystery Fly and Spiny Oak Slug
Location: Kirksville, MO
August 30, 2011 12:49 pm
Hi again,
I’m fortunate enough to have a rather nice restored tallgrass prairie a short drive away from my apartment. There is a plethora of fascinating bugs there, most of which can be identified outright, or with a little researching. I have to admit, though, this fly has me absolutely stumped. I’m not sure if this helps, but it was resting on some ironweed when I snapped the photo.
I was rather happy, however, that thanks to your site I was able to quickly identify the spiny oak slugs that had taken up residence on a white oak at work. It seems like every time I walk by that tree I see more of them (and look, but don’t touch).
PS – The tick bites are still itching. If I had known it was going to be this bad, I would have bought stock in the producers of hydrocortisone!
Signature: EB

Fruit Fly

Dear EB,
Thanks to BugGuide, we were able to identify your Fruit Fly as
Icterica seriata, and the only information BugGuide includes on the information page is:  “Larvae feed in the flowerheads of Bidens species.”  The ironweed your individual was resting on is not the Bidens mentioned as a larval food.  We did find this nice profile of Bidens frondosa on the Missouri Plants website.

Letter 15 – Fruit Fly

 

Subject: Orange Eyes!
Location: Andover, NJ, backyard
July 18, 2012 1:47 pm
Okay, here’s one for you … I found this yellow fly on one of my sunflowers today. It is quite small, so had to crop the heck out of these pictures. One gives you a good look at the body, which looks fly-like to me; while the other gives you some detail on the wings, which are gorgeous. Hope you can id this little thing for me…
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Fruit Fly: Strauzia species

Hi Deborah,
We believe we have correctly identified (much quicker than we would have expected) your Fruit Fly as a member of the genus Strauzia based on these BugGuide photos where it is stated:  “Larvae bore in stems of Asteraceae, including sunflowers”

Thanks, Daniel!  Interestingly, I found an assassin bug nymph (thanks to an ID by you last year) on the same sunflower, so it is possible that the fruit fly will become a meal at some point.  Hopefully, I can get some better pictures of the fruit fly before nature runs its course…
Debbi

Letter 16 – Fruit Fly

 

Subject: Bizarre Stripey-Eyed Alien-Looking Fruit Fly?
Location: Del Mar, CA
March 20, 2013 5:48 pm
Hi, it’s Darlene, the bug wrangler from last year’s moth night. I found this bizarre looking bug on May 7, 2011 in Del Mar, CA on a cold and cloudy day. It was hanging out on a railing at a delicious burrito stand. I’ve never seen striped eyes like that. I believe it’s a fruit fly. I love the white dots and the white border on the wings.
Signature: Darlabutterfly

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

Hi again Darlene,
Bingo on the Fruit Fly identification.  We believe we have correctly identified it as a member of the genus
Eutreta thanks to images posted to BugGuide where it states they are:  “gall-formers on Asteraceae.”

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

Letter 17 – Fruit Fly

 

Subject: What’s My Bug
Location: Colorado
July 3, 2015 6:48 pm
I photographed this little guy at a place called Crystal Lake, about 50 miles outside of Denver, Colorado. I really love his eyes. Can you tell me what he is please?
Signature: Ornithocheirus

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly

Dear Ornithocheirus,
Based on images posted to BugGuide, we have identified your Fruit Fly as a member of the genus
Paracantha, however the three species listed look remarkably similar and Colorado seems to be within the range of all three species, so we are reluctant to go further than identifying the genus.

Letter 18 – Fruit Fly

 

Subject:  Unknown “Picturewing Fly”?
Geographic location of the bug:  Amherst MA, USA
Date: 08/18/2018
Time: 01:39 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I photographed this fly in 2004 and have never asked anyone to identify it.
How you want your letter signed:  Joseph G. Kunkel

Fruit Fly

Dear Joseph,
This is a Fruit Fly in the family Tephritidae, and based on this BugGuide image, it is in the genus
Eutreta.   According to BugGuide, they are “Gall-formers on Asteraceae” and the habitat is “Coastal Dunes, Woodlands.”

Letter 19 – Flutter Fly

 

suicidal tiny fly with spotted wings & sharp stinger
October 11, 2009
i spotted this on the bathroom sink. it looked like it had antlers instead of wings. upon closer inspection with the assist of a macro image i was surprised to see what appeared to be a sharp stinger. it stayed still for quite a while, then it suddenly hopped into the toilet and disappeared with an eventual flush. it was too late to save it. i hope it wasn’t some endangered species of a fly.
guilty for flushing it away
western north carolina

Fruit Fly
Flutter Fly

Dear guilty,
This is some species of Fruit Fly in the family Tephritiae.  There are may species posted on BugGuide but we did not locate a match for your image.  What you have mistaken for a stinger is the ovipositor of the female Fruit Fly.

Daniel:
The “unknown fruit fly” from western North Carolina is actually a “flutter fly” in the family Pallopteridae, closely allied to the true fruit flies.  Not much is known about them because they are not of great economic importance.
Eric

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

9 thoughts on “Where Do Fruit Flies Come From? Uncovering their Mysterious Origins”

  1. Ah, thank you! ‘Fruit fly’ had briefly crossed my mind, but the color really threw me for a loop – this isn’t the strange, pale creature we always toyed with in Genetics. As for the Bidens, the prairie is bordered by a restored woodland with a -lot- of that to spare, so that at least explains the fly’s presence in the general area.

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  2. For what it’s worth after so long since you posted by this….I have morgellons and strange enough we have times where I these are around a lot. I scraped one along with be a tiny snail shell out of my arm. How are you now?

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  3. I found this same looking fly in our house. Thought it was a latter fly but not spotted. Thank you for helping me identify it as a Flutter Fly but how can it be here in Cape May NJ

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  4. We had these fruit flies on us when we were dealing with horrible bites and rashes on abd in skin. Saw something look invisible abd cut blood across stomach. Caught two bugs on tape on skin snd brought to labs. Sure enough they were fruit flies with scissor like attachments they use to invade fruit bit they were instead on humans. It’s crap. This is what’s happening

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  5. Just found one in our home as well. Calgary Ab Canada. Really a cool looking little bug. Freaked me out at first. Never seen one like it.

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  6. I am not sure what my skin condition is but I am pretty sure I have narrowed it down to the biting gnat….the “no-see-um” or “midge”. They are so tiny that they can get through your window screens. They leave a black dot on my skin which irritates my skin and if it gets in, I get a sore. I live in Illinois and I don’t see many fruit flies here.

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