Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and see a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them flying around your kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking how they got in there and what may 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.” As they’re lured by moisture and rotten food, they’ll head for your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little pieces of food. Sometimes you’ll see them appear up out of the drain. This can be especially frustrating if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This maintains more moisture and food particles that appeals to these insects and enables them to 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 may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Because of 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 attract, retain and transport germs. It’s better to use paper towels and dispose of them.
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 throughout your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you ought to see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other traps you can also use, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine inside the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also have a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit rather than 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 more difficult for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce immediately after bringing it home. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Try not to keep overripe produce in your house. 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 above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly problem, there could also be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and stop foul air from drifting up into your home. It also stops 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 create a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed right away. 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 slower than usual. This problem not only helps breed 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 know-how to determine the problem and fix it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s going on inside the pipes, and multiple 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 clear leaky pipes.
If you are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with 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 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.