How fruit flies can give you a sprinting tummy

Jul 19, 2017

“The female fly punctures the maturing fruit and lays eggs under the skin of the fruit after hatching."

(Credit: AFP)


The fruit fly is one of the deadliest fruit pests that can cause total losses to a farmer if not handled well.

However, the health of the consumer is also at stake as it carries bacteria which can cause intestinal discomfort and diarrhea.

According to Daudi Ssentamu, an agriculturalist in Wakiso, fruit flies attack the fruit when they (fruits) are almost mature.

"The female fly punctures the maturing fruit and lays eggs under the skin of the fruit after hatching. The larvae feed on the fruit."

While the larvae feeds on the fruit on the inside, the outside seems normal and you can barely notice that the fruit has already been attacked by the fly. Later, the maggots will start falling on the ground for further growth.

"Fruit flies do not bite but they carry bacteria and diseases," says Irene Kitiibwa, a medical expertl in Kampala.

She says the fruit flies land on anything in your house including toothbrush, plates, cutlery and glasses.

Once the bacteria are transmitted, they start to expand and when you eat from the objects, you eat the bacteria hence potential for frequent trips to the washroom (as a result of diarrhea).

How to prevent fruit fly infection

Kitiibwa advises you to keep your fruits refrigerated to prevent them from going bad.

she says fruits or vegetables do not have to first rot. Once they are overripe or are bruised dispose of them.

Infected fruits fall from the tree, but do not be sure that you have gotten rid of the insects by throwing the fallen fruit, cautions Ssentamu.

He explains that by the time you get to the fruit, probably the maggots have left the fruit and made drilled their way into the soil to pupate.

The best thing to do is to spray the plant before other fruits are infected too.

Garbage bins are other good breeding areas for fruit flies since they harbour rotting foods. So bins need to be emptied as regularly as possible to keep good sanitation in the environment and be disease-free.

Kitiibwa cautions people to keep their dishes clean at all times to keep away bacteria.


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