Can Fruit Flies Survive in the Fridge?

The fruit fly is a small, winged insect found in most parts of the world, especially in your kitchen! It is a family member of the order Drosophilidae, also known as vinegar fly. 

If you’ve left those bananas on the counter for a… bit… too long, you might notice a buzzy problem in your kitchen. Where there is rotten fruit or vegetables, there are often fruit flies.

But can fruit flies survive in the fridge? Do you need to worry about an infestation breeding in your refrigerated food?

Yes, fruit flies can survive in the refrigerator for a while, but the cold slows down their metabolism and will eventually kill them.

That’s good news! But the bottom line is that you still need to worry about fruit flies in the fridge.

In this article, we’ll explain it all, and go over some ways to keep fruit flies at bay.

Fruit Fly Basics

  • A fruit fly is typically brown or yellowish with red eyes and has a wingspan of about 3/4 inch. They have large compound eyes with thousands of lenses and a pair of short antennae. 
  • Fruit flies are small, annoying insects that do not bite humans but can carry diseases. 
  • They are also attracted to rotten and decaying fruit and vegetables, making them a nuisance in the home. 

They have long bristles that they use to sense their environment. Moreover, they are often used as model organisms for biological research related to genetics, mutations, evolution, physiology, microbial pathogenesis, and more.

You may also see them around trash cans or within restaurants. They have short life spans of about 2-3 weeks but reproduce quickly. A female fruit fly can lay up to 2000 eggs in her lifetime.

Can Fruit Flies Get In the Fridge?

Fruit flies are attracted to refrigerators because of the strong food smell present in a fridge. They can enter the refrigerator when it is open, or if you’ve accidentally not fully sealed the fridge when you closed it or if the gasket is failing.

Maybe one of those vegetable bins wasn’t seated correctly, which stopped the door from closing. It happens all the time.

Fruit flies are tiny and fast, so they manage to get inside through small openings or gaps. 

Fruit flies are tiny and fast, so they manage to get inside through small openings or gaps. 

In some cases, the fruit flies are hidden in the fruit or vegetable bags, so nobody can detect them, and they get access to the fridge. They can also enter through small openings around the base of the door that allow air to flow in and out of the refrigerator. 

Even after cleaning the fridge regularly and taking care of the seals, you might find dead fruit flies. That is because fruit flies might have laid eggs within the fridge, and you cannot detect them. There might be some tiny gaps that have turned into a breeding ground for them.

Can Fruit Flies Survive in the Fridge?

When you find that you have fruit flies in your fridge, you might wonder if they can survive there. Yes, fruit flies can survive in the refrigerator. The cold environment slows down their metabolism and makes them inactive for most of the day.

As soon as they are inside a refrigerator, they will enter a state of hibernation called “diapause,” and their metabolic rate will slow down by 90%.

Additionally, fruit flies have a thick layer of fat that keeps their body temperature high enough for them to survive. They also have the ability to produce heat through shivering, which can raise their body temperature by ten degrees Fahrenheit or more.

This is an adaptation that evolved to help them survive during the winter. 

In various experiments, fruit flies have been shown to survive at temperatures as low as -4 degrees Celsius for up to 24 hours if they are given access to food and water. In the fridge, the temperature is typically below the point at which fruit flies can survive.

Often you’ll find dead fruit flies in the fridge, as they just can’t handle the cold for long. Generally, fruit flies are known to survive in the refrigerator for a maximum of 8-9 hours.

Often you’ll find dead fruit flies in the fridge, as they just can’t handle the cold for long. Generally, fruit flies are known to survive in the refrigerator for a maximum of 8-9 hours.

Ways to Prevent Fruit Flies From Getting Inside the Fridge

The fruit fly can easily invade the food within the fridge, which is a significant health concern. Every single unpackaged item within the appliance has probably been contaminated.

Moreover, they can quickly multiply and cause a lot of damage to our food. Therefore, it is unsafe to consume the food as eggs might be laid on the edible items. 

It is important to get rid of them as soon as possible and also find ways to prevent them. Here are some ways to prevent fruit flies from entering your fridge.

1. Keep the Door Closed

Keep in mind, fruit flies will instantly enter the fridge if it is left open for too long, so make sure you keep the door closed when not in use. Check your gaskets and seals, and make sure they’re in good working order.

2. Use a Sticky Fly Strip

If you want to protect your fridge doors, you can use a sticky fly strip that will trap any fruit flies that come in contact with it and prevent them from escaping.

3. Use an Air-Tight Container

You should always store your leftovers in air-tight containers, so they don’t dry out and become an attractive place for fruit flies to lay eggs. 

4. Clean Your Fridge Regularly

Does your fridge have stains, spills, half-eaten containers of half-opened food, crumbs, etc? Yeah, that’s all fruit fly breeding ground!

The first step is to make sure that you clean your fridge every week. This will remove any spills or food crumbs that may attract the flies. It is also important to keep your fruit in the crisper drawer and not on the shelves where it can easily spill over and attract pests.

5. Wash Fresh Items

To prevent the fruit fly infestation within the fridge, you should always wash the fruits and vegetables properly before storing them inside.

6. Quick Trap

If you find the presence of fruit flies within the fridge and you are not able to get rid of them, then simply trap them (make sure you set up the trap correctly). Place a container of vinegar or a mixture of soap, wine, and water inside the fridge on each shelf. After a few hours, the fruit flies are dead inside the bowl.

7. No Source of Food Around

The key to keeping fruit flies out of your fridge is to ensure that there are no fruit sources around. Also, avoid keeping the trash can near your fridge.

Ensure that the fridge door is closed tightly and that no cracks or gaps exist in the seal at the top of the door.

8. Control Fruit Fly Infestation

If fruit flies are introduced frequently into your fridge, it means your house is infested with them. Controlling fruit fly infestation is not an easy task, and it needs to be done with patience and persistence.

Types of Fruit Flies

We can find several types of fruit flies around us, with different colors, sizes, and shapes. They are categorized into two main types: Wild type and Mutant-type.

1. Wild Type

Wild-type fruit flies are the most common fruit flies attracted to shadows due to light sensitivity. They are the type we see in our fruit bowls and window sills. They are also the most studied and researched fruit flies in laboratories.

Wild-type fruit flies have a yellow body with red eyes and like to feed on overripe or rotting fruits and yeast-based foods such as pieces of bread, cakes, and other baked goods.

2. Mutant-Type

Mutant-type fruit flies have a white body with blue eyes and curly wings. These types of fruit flies are less common than wild types of fruit flies. In fact, they are more readily available in laboratory settings because it is easier to study their genetic mutations than it is to study wild types of fruit flies that are associated with the natural environment.

Lifecycle of a Fruit Fly

Like other insects, the lifecycle of the fruit fly can be broken down into four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. It is initiated when an adult female lays eggs on or near a piece of rotting food or other material with high nutritional content like paper or cloth.

The eggs hatch into larvae that go through four stages before turning into an adult fly. 

The eggs hatch within 1-3 days, and the larvae feed on the food for about two weeks before they form pupae, which look like small white balls of cotton or wool.

After about ten days, the pupa turns into an adult fly and leaves its cocoon to mate with other adults in the area.

What Fruit Flies Feed On

Fruit flies like to feed on the sugars present in fruits and vegetables, which is why they can be found near these foods. They are very fond of apples and bananas.

Fruit flies also like to feed on yeast and fermented items, so they will be found near slices of bread, baking items, and liquor. 

Fruit flies like to feed on the sugars present in fruits and vegetables, which is why they can be found near these foods.

The feeding habits of fruit flies can vary depending on what kind of food is available to them. These tiny creatures love rotten potatoes and onions as well. You can notice their presence near garbage bags due to food waste and other discarded organic materials. You may even find them on your bathroom mirror, and they are probably attracted to the fruity smells of your hair care products!


Fruit flies can survive in the fridge for several hours, but will eventually die due to the cold temperatures. They likely wouldn’t last more than a few minutes in a freezer.

But it’s best to keep them out of your refrigerator altogether, by carefully cleaning your fridge, your food, and by ensuring the door is fully closed.