Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a small creature buzz up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them buzzing around your 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 exist 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.” Since they’re lured by moisture and rotting food, they’ll head for your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little pieces of food. In some cases you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This retains more moisture and food debris that attracts these insects and allows them to thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies move from a dirty surface to a clean one, they lug germs with them. This can include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial exposure, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and transport germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spray 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 ideas you can also attempt, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine into the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but using 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 in addition, which makes it more difficult for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid attracting fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Avoid keeping spoiled produce in your house. 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 prefer to keep windows up, install well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly problem, there could also be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and keep foul air from drifting up into your home. It also keeps flies from surviving in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can create a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slower than usual. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become unusable. The Stevenson Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and expertise to determine the problem and resolve it quickly. We use a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s occurring within the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and severity of the blockage. If the problem is your garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also handle leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at Stevenson Service Experts. 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.