Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a small creature buzz up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you watch more of them flying around your kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering how they got in there and what you can do 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.” Since they’re drawn to moisture and rotting food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and small chunks of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be particularly likely if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that empties 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 lug germs with them. This might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing 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 attract, retain and exchange germs. It’s better to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spread insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water down 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 traps you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine into the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also use a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but using 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 get away.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid attracting fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon as you take it home. Sometimes they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Don't keep overripe produce in your home. Buy only what you’re most likely 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 listed methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly issue, there might be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and prevent foul air from wafting up into your home. It also stops 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 lead to a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you find one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slowly. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can completely clog and become inoperable. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the equipment, experience and expertise to diagnose the problem and resolve it quickly. We use a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s happening in the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and severity 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 are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, contact 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.