Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you notice more of them flying around your kitchen. These annoying 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 rotten food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and little chunks of food. Sometimes you’ll notice them fly up out of the drain. This can be especially frustrating if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This retains more moisture and food debris that draws these insects and enables 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?
Owing to this bacterial risk, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and transfer germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to apply insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water down your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you ought to see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other traps you can also use, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Add an ounce of wine inside the jar. Add a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but use 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 in addition, which makes it more difficult for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent encouraging fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon as you take it home. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Avoid keeping spoiled produce in your house. 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 prefer to keep windows up, install well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly problem, there might be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and stop foul air from moving up into your home. It also keeps flies from living in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and lacks a water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also contact 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 inoperable. The Coastal Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and know-how to identify the problem and resolve it promptly. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly 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 need any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Coastal Service Experts. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers happy. 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.