Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning 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 aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking how they got in there and what can be done about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies exist 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 attracted to moisture and decomposing food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and small bits of food. Occasionally you’ll see them fly up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This retains more moisture and food debris that draws these insects and lets them 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 may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in acute 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 destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and exchange germs. It’s best to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you likely don’t want to apply insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water into your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also use, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine into the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also use a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with 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 as well, which makes it more difficult for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent attracting fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon as you take it home. In some cases they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Try not to keep spoiled 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, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly problem, there could also be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and stop foul air from wafting up into your home. It also stops flies from hiding in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can create a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you spot 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 slowly. This problem not only helps breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become useless. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to determine the problem and fix it promptly. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s going on in the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is the garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also handle leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with 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.