Entomology (Study of Bugs)/what is this bug


Fly strip with unidentified bug
Fly strip with unident  
QUESTION: I have these teensy bugs that come in to my apartment through the screens and also from outside when the doors are open. It's always in the fall I have this problem and end up putting up fly strips all over the apartment to catch them, yet there are still dozens flying around bugging (pardon the pun) the heck out of me. I took a picture of the fly strip with these teensy things on and want to know what they are and how to get rid of them. I tried Raid but they just brushed it off and went on their merry way.

ANSWER: These look a lot like fruit flies.  Fruit flies are attracted to peaches, pears, apples, bananas and potatoes in the kitchen.  In dry times, they also seek moisture in the sink drain.  If you keep any of the above produce out on the counter for extended periods, fruit flies will eventually appear.  Once the first frost comes, fruit flies will significantly diminish until spring.

An easy trap to catch fruit flies

You will need:

One jelly or mayonnaise jar with lid
Apple cider vinegar

Make sure the jar is clean and add one (1) inch of apple cider vinegar to the jar.  Place the jar near your kitchen sink and leave the lid off.  Monitor the jar periodically and when there are a lot of flies inside, quickly put the lid on a give the vinegar a swirl which will drown the flies.  Re-open the lid and repeat until the vinegar is too full of flies.  Pour the vinegar out, add fresh and start again.

It's cheap and easy without using a lot of pesticides indoors.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Are fruit flies small enough to get through a window screen? And why would they hang out in the bedroom and living room, although I know they are the worst in the kitchen and bathroom, but I don't have any fruit or veggies sitting out in either place. I've been putting everything in the refrigerator and they are still heavy near the kitchen sink and in the bathroom. They love looking at themselves in the bathroom mirror! And the shower is full of them.

Fruit flies are definitely small enough to come through a window screen.  However, I notice a definite pattern from your latest description:

You are seeing them heaviest in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, and in the shower...the link:  water!

They need moisture in the form of water when there isn't fruit around.  Try placing vinegar traps in the bathroom as well as the kitchen.

If there are enough of them in the house, they will disperse in their efforts to find moisture and food, thus finding them in the bedroom and living room.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Nathan Riggs


I currently live in San Antonio, TX and have expertise in identifying insects, many types of spiders, and other arthropod critters that infest lawns, ornamentals, structures, trees, pets and livestock. Mites are not a strong point of mine. I'm not a licensed doctor, so I cannot provide medical diagnosis of conditions possibly related to insects or other arthropods. If you've got an interesting photo for me to see, attach it to your question, or let me know and I'll give you my email so the picture will get to me. If you have hosted an insect photo on a website, please include the link so I can go look at it and provide a faster ID for you. You may also join my group page on Facebook and post your picture at www.facebook.com/groups/antmans.hill/.


22+ years' experience as an entomologist: 5 years as a biologist with Merck Animal Health (I was part of the R&D team that worked to develop FrontLine flea and tick products) and 7 years as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist in San Antonio, Texas with Texas Cooperative Extension.

Veterinary Parasitology, Southwestern Entomologist, San Antonio Express News, San Antonio Gardener Newsletter, Master Gardener SCION Newsletter, GardenStyleSA e-Newsletter

BS - Entomology from Texas A&M University in 1992.

Board Certified Entomologist, 1996-2000 - Medical and Veterinary Entomology Specialty (Entomological Society of America)

Awards and Honors
2000 Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor's Award in Excellence for leadership on the Texas Fire Ant Program Educational Team.

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