Bar flies (aka fruit flies, vinegar flies, or those cheeky little bar-stewards), can be a pesky nuisance in homes and businesses. And while not a deadly pest, they are relentlessly annoying…something that we can all agree upon. 

In this blog post, we’re going to explore these irritating little critters in greater depth, talk about whether or not they pose any threat to your home or business, look at the lifespan and lifecycle of these insects, ways to effectively eliminate them, and any preventive measures you can try to keep them at bay. 

If you’ve had enough of these little buggers buzzing around your home or business, read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know… 

What Is a Bar Fly Insect?

Not that barflies need any introduction; for consistencies’ sake we will offer a brief description: 

  • Bar flies, vinegar flies or fruit flies, are small, flying insects that are attracted to ripe or decaying fruits, vegetables, and other organic matter.
  • They are usually about 1/8 inch in length, with a tan or brownish body and red eyes.
  • Bar flies are commonly found in kitchens, garbage areas, bars, and restaurants, where they can easily access their preferred food sources.

Beige fly isolated on a white background

Are Bar Flies Dangerous? Can They Spread Diseases?

Should you be worried about having too many bar flies in your home? 

  • While bar flies are not directly harmful to humans, they can be annoying and indicate unsanitary conditions.
  • They have the potential to carry and spread bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, as they land on food surfaces and contaminate them.
  • Bar flies can also breed and multiply quickly, leading to a larger infestation if not addressed promptly.

What Is the Lifespan/Lifecycle of a Bar Fly?

More importantly, how long do these little blighters live? Don’t worry, we’ll cover how to shorten their lifespan even further in a bit: 

  • The lifespan of a bar fly is relatively short, typically ranging from 8 to 10 days.
  • The lifecycle of a bar fly consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
  • Female bar flies lay their eggs in moist, organic matter, such as overripe fruits or vegetables or in drains with decaying material.
  • The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on the organic matter and develop into pupae.
  • After a short period, the adult bar flies emerge from the pupae and the cycle continues.


A tiny fly on a hand in Paris, France

Is There Such a Thing as a Bar Fly Infestation? 

What’s Considered a ‘Normal’ Number of Bar Flies in and Around Your Home or Business?

If you’ve been seeing more flies than usual in your home, you may be worried about a potential infestation. Here’s what you should know: 

  • While a few bar flies may not be cause for alarm, a large number of them can indicate an infestation or an underlying sanitation issue.
  • A ‘normal’ number of bar flies can vary depending on the environment, but if you notice a consistent presence of these insects, it’s a good idea to take action to eliminate them.

How Do You Get Rid of Bar Flies?

Now let’s get down to business; how do you get rid of bar flies? Here are some effective methods to try:

  • Cleanliness: Regularly clean your kitchen, including countertops, sinks, and garbage areas, to remove potential food sources and breeding grounds. Don’t give them an excuse to invade your home or business. 
  • Seal food containers: Store fruits, vegetables, and other perishable items in sealed containers to prevent bar flies from accessing them.
  • Dispose of garbage properly: Ensure that garbage cans have tight-fitting lids and empty them regularly to prevent the build-up of organic matter. This is also true for keeping other unwanted pests away, such as rodents and roaches
  • Use vinegar traps: Create a homemade trap by placing a small amount of vinegar in a container, covering it with plastic wrap, and poking small holes in the wrap. The scent of vinegar will attract the bar flies, and they will become trapped — crude, yet effective. 
  • Fruit fly traps: Commercial fruit fly traps or baits can also be effective in capturing and eliminating bar flies. If you’ve had enough, it may be worth investing in a few of these to scatter around your home. 
  • Clean drains: Regularly clean drains and sinks to remove any organic material that may attract bar flies.
  • Contact professional pest control: If the infestation persists or becomes overwhelming, it’s advisable to seek the assistance of a professional pest control service – which if you are in the Sydney area, is where we come in! 

As you can see, pest prevention is a big part of keeping these pests out of your home or your business. Often implementing the above cleanliness tips can be enough to keep them at bay. However, if they do continue to be a pest, let the experts know and we will gladly implement some needed solutions.  


Bar flies are a total nuisance, there are no two ways about it; however, they can be effectively controlled and eliminated with professional pest control solutions. 

Regular cleaning, proper food storage, and preventive measures can significantly reduce the presence of bar flies in your home and business, so be vigilant. 

Especially in a place of business (such as food and beverage), by taking proactive measures, you can keep your establishment free from these bothersome pests and ensure a clean and hygienic environment for your employees and customers to enjoy. 

Should the infestation persist, seeking professional pest control services is highly recommended and if you contact us today, we’ll gladly help rid your home or business of these little bar-stewards.