Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature buzz up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you watch more of them zooming around the kitchen. These aggravating 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 live all over the U.S., and spread 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 decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and tiny chunks of food. Occasionally you’ll watch them fly up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This maintains more moisture and food waste that attracts 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 bring 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 destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and exchange germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill off 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, run boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you ought to 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 inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also use a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit rather than wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using 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 escape.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize attracting fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon as you take it home. Sometimes they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Avoid keeping old produce in your kitchen. Buy only what you’re likely to eat.
- Empty your kitchen trash often, and keep it closed.
- Keep your surfaces clean and disinfected.
- If you like to keep windows up, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly problem, there may be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture 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 create a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can lead to 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 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 tools, experience and knowledge to identify the problem and solve it promptly. We use a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s occurring in the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity 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 are looking for 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.