How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Vinegar Flies

Scientific Name: Drosophila melanogaster

(Reviewed 11/05, updated 11/05)

In this Guideline:


Vinegar flies, also known as fruit flies, are small, tan to amber-colored flies with red eyes, about 0.12 inch (3 mm) long. Larvae are small, white, legless maggots that get up to 0.2 inch (5 mm) long. They differ from driedfruit beetle larvae in that they do not have a hardened head capsule.


Damage is similar to the driedfruit beetle in that the presence of vinegar flies in fruit causes downgrading or rejection of fruit. Vinegar flies are also responsible for transmitting spoilage organisms to sound fruit. Late ripening varieties are especially susceptible to damage as vinegar flies become widespread in tremendous numbers.


Vinegar flies breed in any fermenting or decaying fruit but do not affect undamaged fruit. Remove or disc under damaged fruit to reduce the population. Harvest rapidly and early to reduce exposure of fruit to infestation. Sanitation is key to control.


[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Cucurbits
UC ANR Publication 3445

Insects and Mites

E. T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
J. J. Stapleton, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultultural Center, Parlier
C. S. Stoddard, UC Cooperative Extension, Merced & Madera counties

Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
R. L. Coviello, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County
C. B. Fouche, UC Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County
L. D. Godfrey, Entomology, UC Davis
J. B. LeBoeuf, AgiData Sensing, Inc., Fresno
M. Murray, UC Cooperative Extension, Colusa and Glenn counties
C. G. Summers, Entomology, UC Davis and Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier

Top of page

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   Contact webmaster.