Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and see a small creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you see more of them zooming around the kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering 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 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.” Because they’re attracted to moisture and decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small bits of food. In some cases you’ll watch them come 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 waste 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 lead to acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to this bacterial risk, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and transfer germs. It’s cleaner 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 probably don’t want to apply insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water into your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you ought to see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other traps you can also attempt, all with a jar:
- Wine—Add an ounce of wine into the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also have a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit rather than wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but you'll use 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 get away.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent attracting fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce as soon you bring it home. In some cases they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Don't keep spoiled 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 want to keep windows up, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly infestation, there could also be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and keep foul air from moving up into your home. It also keeps flies from living in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and lacks a water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly problem. Run the water and search 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 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 useless. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to determine the problem and fix it right away. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s happening in the pipes, and a variety of 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 want 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 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.