Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you notice more of them flying 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 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 attracted to moisture and decomposing food, they’ll head for your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and tiny chunks of food. Sometimes you’ll see them fly up out of the drain. This can be especially likely if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This preserves 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 cause acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial risk, 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 transport germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spray insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you ought to see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also attempt, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also use a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but using rotten fruit in place of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid added, 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 minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon you bring it home. Occasionally they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Try not to keep old produce in your home. 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 open, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly problem, there may be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and prevent foul air from moving up into your home. It also keeps flies from surviving in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly problem. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. 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 more slowly than usual. This problem not only helps breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become inoperable. The Wesley Wood Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to identify the problem and solve it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s going on 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 handle leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Wesley Wood Service Experts. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers satisfied. 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.