Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a small creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you see 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 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.” Since they’re attracted to moisture and decomposing food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and tiny chunks of food. In some cases you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This preserves more moisture and food particles that attracts 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 bring germs with them. This might 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 exposure, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transfer germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water down your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other barriers you can also attempt, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Add an ounce of wine in the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also have a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with 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 in addition, which makes it much harder for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid encouraging fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce immediately after bringing it home. Occasionally they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't keep overripe 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 listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly issue, there might be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and stop foul air from moving 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 is missing a water seal, this can produce a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can encourage 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 encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become useless. The Comfort Masters Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to diagnose the problem and fix it right away. We use 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 extent of the blockage. If the problem is the garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also resolve leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at Comfort Masters 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.