Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a small creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you see more of them buzzing around the kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking how they got in there and what may be done 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 rotten food, they’ll head for your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small pieces of food. Sometimes you’ll notice them appear up out of the drain. This can be especially likely if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This retains more moisture and food waste that draws 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 lug germs with them. This may 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?
Due to this bacterial exposure, keep your home's surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and transfer germs. It’s better 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 spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water down your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other ideas you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Put 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 instead of a lid.
- Rotten 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 much harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid bringing in fruit flies:
- Wash your produce immediately after bringing it home. In some cases they can contain 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 raised, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly issue, there might be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and stop foul air from wafting up into your home. It also stops flies from living in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and lacks a water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also hire 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 unusable. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to identify the problem and resolve it right away. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring within 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 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.