Shoo fly, don't bother me

bar fruit


Do you have any tips on preventing fruit flies in the bar area? We do daily cleanings and wrap the bottles in plastic wrap but they still come.

– Caitlin Walsh, Service Manager, Casual Dining Operation, South Plainfield, NJ


Fruit flies are frustrating because even if you have great sanitation practices they seem to persist, especially in warmer climates. One of the problems is that fruit flies breed in drains, maybe a spot overlooked in your daily cleaning.

You’ve followed my usual suggestion, to be sure all bottle openings are thoroughly closed and cleaned as open bottles or dirty speed pourers are big attractors. Another culprit is fruit cut for the bar and left uncovered.

Jeff Teague, owner of Responsible Services Termite and Pest Control, based in Cincinnati, OH, confirmed my perception that fruit flies are even more of a problem than they used to be. The reason is interesting. Teague says that back when exterminators used to spray pesticides for cockroaches abundantly in restaurants, enough residues would be in the area and mopped into the drains that the cockroach treatment would take care of the fruit flies as well. As pest control became more precise and responsible, using gels and traps to target key problem areas, the fruit flies began to escape unharmed.

Teague advises, “The most overlooked area in restaurants is the drains. The floor drain beneath the bar is a common area [for infestation]. I also tend to find them in drains that don't have a regular water flow through them.” Use a bacterial enzyme to clean the drains. Then flush them with plenty of hot water. “Clean your drains daily at first, then weekly, and at least monthly [on an ongoing basis] to keep the fruit flies from having a breeding point.”