Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you watch more of them flying around the kitchen. These annoying 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 survive all over the U.S., and grow 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 rotting food, they’ll head for your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and tiny pieces of food. In some cases you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be particularly bad if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This retains more moisture and food waste that draws these insects and lets them thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies move from a dirty surface to a clean one, they carry germs with them. This might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can lead to serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Because of this bacterial risk, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and exchange germs. It’s better 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 spread insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other traps you can also try, 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 use rotten fruit instead 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 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 prevent attracting fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon you bring it home. Sometimes they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't keep spoiled 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 want to keep windows open, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly issue, there could also be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and keep foul air from moving up into your home. It also stops flies from surviving in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can produce a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also hire 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the tools, experience and know-how to diagnose the problem and fix it promptly. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s happening within the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity of the blockage. If the problem is the 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, contact 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.