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 notice more of them buzzing around your kitchen. These annoying little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wanting to know how they got in there and what can be done about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies survive 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.” As they’re attracted to moisture and rotten food, they’ll head for your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and little bits of food. Sometimes you’ll see them appear up out of the drain. This can be particularly likely if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This retains more moisture and food waste that appeals to these insects and lets them thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies move from a dirty surface to a clean one, they lug 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?
Owing to this bacterial exposure, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and transport germs. It’s better to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spray insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you should see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other traps you can also try, all with a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine into the jar. Add a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also use a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit rather than 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 much harder for flies to get away.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid attracting fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon as you take it home. Sometimes they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't keep spoiled produce in your house. 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 like to keep windows raised, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly infestation, there might be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and keep foul air from drifting up into your home. It also prevents flies from living in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also hire a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining more slowly than usual. This problem not only helps breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become unusable. The Strand Brothers Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and knowledge to determine the problem and resolve it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s going on within the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and severity of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also clear leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Strand Brothers Service Experts. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers satisfied. 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.