Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and see a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you watch more of them zooming 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 exist 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.” As they’re drawn to moisture and rotten food, they’ll head for your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and tiny bits of food. Occasionally you’ll notice them come 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 attracts these insects and lets them thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies transfer from a dirty surface to a clean one, they bring germs with them. This may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to this bacterial risk, keep your home's surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that destroys 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 off the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spray insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you should see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other traps you can also try, all with a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine into the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also have a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but using 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 as well, which makes it harder for flies to get away.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize attracting fruit flies:
- Clean your produce immediately after bringing it home. In some cases they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Don't keep spoiled produce in your home. 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 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 prevent foul air from wafting up into your home. It also prevents 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 produce a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural damage to 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 completely clog and become unusable. The Fras-Air/General Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to diagnose the problem and resolve it right away. We use a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s happening inside the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and severity of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also handle leaky pipes.
If you are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Fras-Air/General 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.