Why Are There Fruit Flies in My Kitchen Sink Drain?
Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and see a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you notice more of them buzzing around the kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering 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 grow 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.” Since they’re drawn to moisture and rotten food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and tiny pieces of food. In some cases you’ll see them fly up out of the drain. This can be particularly likely if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This preserves more moisture and food debris that attracts these insects and allows them to thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies transfer from a dirty surface to a clean one, they carry germs with them. This might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to this bacterial risk, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transport germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water into your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you can see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other traps you can also attempt, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also use a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit instead of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid in addition, which makes it harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Clean your produce immediately after bringing it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Try not to keep old produce in your kitchen. 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, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly problem, there could also 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 wafting up into your home. It also stops flies from surviving in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and lacks a water seal, this can produce a fruit fly problem. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also call 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing plumbing team has the tools, experience and expertise to determine the problem and solve it promptly. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring in the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity of the blockage. If the problem is the garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also fix leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. 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.
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