Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them flying around your kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wanting to know how they got in there and what you can do about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies live all over the U.S., and mate quickly. According to WebMD, “An adult female fruit fly can lay up to 2,000 eggs on the surface of anything that's moist and rotting. Within 30 hours, tiny maggots hatch and start to eat the decayed food. Within two days, they're all grown up and ready to mate.” Because they’re lured by moisture and decomposing food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little bits of food. Occasionally you’ll notice them appear up out of the drain. This can be notably bad if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This retains more moisture and food debris that attracts these insects and enables them to thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies transfer from a dirty surface to a clean one, they bring germs with them. This can include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in severe cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Because of this bacterial exposure, keep your home's surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transfer germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you probably don’t want to apply insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water in your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you ought to see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other traps you can also try, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine inside the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit in place of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but with apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid in addition, which makes it more difficult for flies to get away.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid attracting fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Try not to keep old produce in your home. Buy only what you’re going to eat.
- Empty your kitchen trash often, and keep it closed.
- Keep your surfaces clean and disinfected.
- If you want to keep windows open, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly problem, there may be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and prevent foul air from wafting up into your home. It also prevents flies from living in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can create a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slower than usual. This problem not only helps encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can completely clog and become useless. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the tools, experience and know-how to identify the problem and solve it promptly. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s happening in the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is your garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also resolve leaky pipes.
If you are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers comfortable. With more than 4,000 team members, we can deliver and innovate better than anyone. Our can-do family attitude helps us get the job done on time, and right—the first time.