Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you notice more of them zooming around your kitchen. These annoying little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wanting to know 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 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 lured by moisture and decomposing food, they’ll head for your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and tiny bits of food. In some cases you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This maintains more moisture and food debris 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 can 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 home's surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and transport germs. It’s better to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spray insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water into 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 barriers you can also attempt, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine into 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.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit in place 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 added, which makes it more difficult for flies to get away.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Try not to keep overripe produce in your house. Buy only what you’re going to eat.
- Empty your kitchen trash often, and keep it closed.
- Keep your surfaces clean and disinfected.
- If you like to keep windows up, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly infestation, there might be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and stop foul air from drifting up into your home. It also keeps 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 problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed right away. 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 more slowly than usual. This problem not only helps encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become unusable. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the tools, experience and knowledge to determine the problem and fix it right away. We employ a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s going on inside the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also fix leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, call 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.