INVASION: How To Get Rid Of Fruit flies?

Light bulbs, wire, and fruit flies, 4m x 4m

Upon typing the word 'fruit fly' in a search engine, the most common results are instructions of how to get rid of them. These creatures breed fast and can easily infest a home. They can be found everywhere, from garbage bins and rotting fruit to used dish rags and dirty dishes. Fruit flies are obviously regarded as pests and no one really wants them around.

No one apart from scientists, mostly geneticists. That’s since fruit flies have been used to unravel the secrets of humans for over 100 years. Fruit flies have genes similar to human beings and many work the same. Therefore, scientists can use them to understand the secrets of our own existence.

The fruit flies used for this work are flightless mutants, meaning their genetic code has been altered in order to achieve a fly which cannot fly. This does not only provide irony to its name, but also renders it unable to survive as a wild fruit fly.

Outside the laboratory the war on these insects is lost. Human settlements provide them with food and ideal breeding conditions and thus help them to flourish in our homes. So their presence, rather than just a fluke, could be considered a side effect of human existence. And ironically, the creature we collectively despise is the one which allows us to further understand ourselves. 

Invasion is inspired and made possible by the research and help of Dr Edward Duca and Dr Reuben Cauchi (University of Malta).