CHADBOURN, NC (WECT) - A small town in North Carolina has a problem with fruit flies. Not only are they pesky pests, but they're taking a bite out of business.
Muhammad Abdullah has spent most of the last month spraying fruit flies. He owns a store and says the flies are scaring off his customers.
"During the month of December I haven't really been able to do any business because of the big situation," said Abudullah.
Abudullah said he's tried several methods to rid his store of the pesky flies, but nothing has worked. The fruit flies breed very quickly.
Residents say the fruit flies have been so bad and their only real defense is spraying the bugs.
City leaders are trying to battle the problem as well, but the warm wet weather makes it difficult.
In addition to the weather, it's sweet potato season and fruit flies are attracted to the sugars in the vegetable.
A sweet potato warehouse is located next to Abdullah's shop.
"We are trying to get people to do things that may be preventative we are working with the sweet potato factory to see if they can get the sweet potatoes out as soon as possible," said Chadbourn Town Manager Stevie Cox.
The sweet potato company said they are spraying several times a day to help keep the flies away.
North Carolina is the leader in sweet potato production and supplies about 40% of all United States production.