Ever thought what would be common between fruits and pets? Simple! They both attract uninvited guests to your house. Fleas and fruit flies seem to suddenly appear out of thin air and unfortunately, one organism can lead to a whole epidemic in your house. Today we will break down flea vs fruit fly and everything you need to know.
You know what they say, keep your friends close, but know your enemies and drive them out of your house.
Let’s get started!
Flea vs Fruit Fly – Overview
Fleas, or Siphonapteras, are ⅛ of an inch, flightless insects with narrow forms that survive as external parasites on the bodies of birds and mammals. They have a life cycle of 18 to 21 days at an ideal temperature of 26 to 32°C with 70% humidity.
On the other hand, fruit flies, Drosophila Melanogasters, are similar to fleas as they also are ⅛ of an inch in size. They are characteristically brown with red eyes and fragile wings. Thankfully though, their lifespan lasts for about a week. On the contrary to fleas, this species lives longer in colder temperatures, ideally from 12 to 32°C.
Both insects’ life span gets affected by the change of environmental conditions, like temperature and humidity.
Where Do Fleas and Fruit Flies Come From?
Unlike fruit flies, fleas usually get a chance inside your house through a host, usually pets.
When your cat or dog leaves to play outdoors, the insect attaches to your pet’s fur and immediately uses its strong claws and piercing mouthparts to enjoy a dose of blood. Their hind legs aid them in leaping as far as 1 foot in the air to spread to other warm-blooded organisms, and later on to your house and furniture.
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Conversely, fruit flies don’t need a host, but they have a major attractant you may be leaving behind. Adult fruit flies strongly gravitate towards moist, fermenting materials and unclean surfaces. This includes rotten food, empty bottles, and trash cans. They survive by ingesting decaying matter.
Flea vs Fruit Fly – How Fast Do They Spread?
Once both insects find a source of nourishment, reproduction begins!
Fleas and fruit flies need as few as 24 hours to mate and lay their eggs. Not to mention, fleas lay about 40 – 50 eggs daily in your pet’s fur. Upon having your fluffy friend rest around on the furniture and carpets, the eggs fall from the fur onto the cushions.
In contrast to fleas, Adult flies lay up to 500 eggs at once in areas with sustenance. This makes the riddance of fleas much more rigorous than that of the fruit flies.
Flea vs Fruit Fly – How To Spot Them?
Spotting an infestation of any kind often needs a sharp eye.
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Gnat-sized fruit flies are generally noticed hovering in groups over decaying fruits and vegetables, trash cans, open garbage bins, sink drains, kitchens, and dirty bathrooms. It’s that simple!
On the other hand, fleas leave a few hints on your pet and around your house. You should be aware of the following signs of a possible flea infestation:
Not only do flea bites cause sharp pain, but their saliva is also irritating, which leads your cat or dog to bite and scratch at its fur. When you suspect the little vermins, try inspecting and brushing your pet’s fur.
You will be able to see adult fleas jumping about your house. For every adult flea you catch, it’s estimated at least 100 other immature ones are hiding around.
Fleas leave behind “flea dirt”, which looks like tiny black spots. Flea dirt is a piece of dried blood. You will be able to spot it on your carpet, or pet’s bedding and skin.
You may also encounter tiny, red itchy spots on your body caused by a flea bite. In this case, it’s recommended you contact your doctor for a topical treatment prescription.
Fleas in their early stages including eggs, pupae, and larvae are more dormant and less active. For this reason, they tend to be huddled up in out-of-reach places like behind or under furniture or inside floor cracks and grooves.
Finding the mentioned bugs in such locations usually indicate a control issue and a potential infestation.
How Do I Prevent Them?
An infestation didn’t happen, but is liable to occur, what’s next?
The phrase “prevention is better than cure” comes in handy when discussing infestations. The best route of avoidance is aiming to prevent.
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For fleas, you either discourage your pet from playing outside by providing them with toys and other needs indoors, or you thoroughly check up on them and favorably bathe them after they come from outside, which is rigorous and inaccurate.
That’s why there are multiple options including oral pills or treats, topical gels, or liquids applied to the skin or flea collars that protect your pet from these pests. It’s recommended you discuss with your vet which option may be the most suitable for your domestic animal.
Preventing fruit flies, however, is much more simple than the former. Fruit flies despise clean premises. Say your house is squeaky clean but your kitchen and toilet tend to be a little more humid or moist, no worries!
As mentioned, they’re attracted to moist, fermenting areas. So as long as your ripened produce is kept in airtight containers, you have nothing to fret over. Furthermore, it’s preferred you empty your trash bins regularly, preferably every night. You can also install mesh screens on windows and doors to avoid having them fly right through these entrances.
How To Get Rid of Them?
Whether it may be fleas or fruit flies, an infestation took over your house, and it seems impossible to undo what’s already been done, right? Wrong!
Understanding the stages of their life cycle will allow you to enhance or alter your treatment plan. The rapidity of development from an egg, to a larva, pupa, and finally an adult flea and fruit fly, greatly depends on external conditions.
Eliminating adult fleas is much easier than removing the eggs but they’re both equally essential. Here are a few methods:
- Use a strong vacuum on your furniture, carpets, and mattresses.
- Wash your pet’s bedding and toys using dish soap and warm water. Rinse using hot water to kill any hiding eggs.
- Use Insecticides like aerosol that can reach crevices and insect growth regulators like pyriproxyfen and methoprene that eradicate eggs, larvae, and pupae.
- Treat your pet with the required medication.
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Contrarily, exterminating fruit flies is majorly by removing the cause:
- Clean surfaces and dumpsters.
- Air out moist or highly humid areas in the house.
- Use an insecticide like aerosol.
- Invest in a fruit fly trap.
- Make a vinegar or dish soap solution for a home-made trap.
- Find the source whether it may be leaking water or a broken tile and fix it.
Flea vs Fruit Fly – The Bottom Line
Flea vs fruit fly, no one likes having crawling or flying intruders at their house. That’s why it’s important to understand their biology and behavior to take the required measures when you notice an infestation.
It’s exhausting to realize that your house could be liable to an infestation when you’re keeping your indoor environment under control. That’s why prevention is key.
Remember to treat all sources of the cause at the same time. In the case of fleas, treat your pet and house simultaneously. While in fruit flies’, aim to clean your house and get rid of any trash at once, instead of stretching the task over a few days.
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