Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you watch more of them buzzing around the kitchen. These annoying little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering how they got in there and what may 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 rotting food, they’ll head for your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small chunks of food. Sometimes you’ll notice them appear up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This maintains more moisture and food particles 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 lead to acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial exposure, keep your 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 cleaner to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you can see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also attempt, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine inside the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also utilize 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 with apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid as well, which makes it harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid encouraging fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon as you take it home. In some cases they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't 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, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly issue, there may be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and prevent foul air from drifting up into your home. It also keeps 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 lead to a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you find one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural problems with 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 inoperable. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to diagnose the problem and fix it promptly. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring within the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also resolve leaky pipes.
If you need 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 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.