Dear Restaurant Remedies,
It’s December and I have been plagued for months with fruit flies. I can’t seem to find the reason and I am getting worn out. I see guests swatting them and the health department has noted it on several inspections. I told my pest control provider, but they are still here. What can I do?
---Fruit Flied in Modesto, CA
Dear Fruit Flied,
I feel your pain! I had this experience once.
Usually fruit flies come in on your produce, particularly with sweet fruits like bananas and last 2-4 weeks during the summer months. I would recommend you always inspect your produce closely when delivered. If you see any fruit flies reject the products. Secondly, store all fruit in covered containers.
Once they gain access, poor sanitation could play a key role in fruit fly reproduction so keep your restaurant clean and dry. Search your entire restaurant for the source. You may be experiencing a problem in one area, but the source could be a nest up to 20 feet away.
Here are the top 4 steps I would recommend to kills these pesky buggers.
Promptly notify your pest control operator for assistance since the breeding cycle of fruit flies is very short and you can get an infestation rather quickly.
Just like most of us, fruit flies have a sweet tooth so check for any spills, leaks, or neglected cleaning around equipment that store or dispense sweets such as juice and soda machines. Bars are particularly prone to these types of infestations where they will get inside the liquor bottles.
They are also attracted to drains and what you think are fruit flies could actually be drain flies which look very similar. Inspect the floor drains, including the lip and surrounding areas where food debris may be splashed. Sometimes they will lay eggs in the first 3 inches of the pipe where light can be reached. Scrub the drains and inside the pipe thoroughly and apply sanitizer, not bleach. Contrary to popular belief, bleach has little effect on fruit flies per an entomologist. They will develop some type of “super hero” capsule around themselves whenever bleach appears.
Look for other places were water can accumulate like grout that has deteriorated or where is there is a leaking pipe causing standing water.It would be good to get a flash light out and get on your hands and knees and look under equipment for moist areas.
At one location, I had a lingering problem and after months of late-night walk-throughs with pest control experts looking in every nook and cranny, the problem still persisted. We kept the place sparkling clean and in good repair. I was so frustrated I wanted to pull my hair out! Then one day, I noticed a spill on the stainless base plate of a cabinet under a counter top hand-sink.When I went to clean it, the metal which I thought was permanently attached was not and when I lifted it up, I found about 2 inches of standing water, gunk, and the main nest. All from a miniscule pipe leak behind the wall that was undetected. Once this was cleaned up and repaired, the problem was solved for good! Hallelujah! Fruit flies are not going to beat down the Boss Lady!