Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and see a small creature fly up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them buzzing around the kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking how they got in there and what you can do 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.” Since they’re drawn to moisture and rotting food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and tiny pieces of food. In some cases you’ll watch 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 waste that appeals to these insects and allows them to thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies move from a dirty surface to a clean one, they lug germs with them. This might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause severe cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial risk, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and transport germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to apply insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other traps you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine inside the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also have a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with 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 added, which makes it more difficult 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 attracting fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon you bring it home. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Don't keep spoiled produce in your kitchen. 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 prefer to keep windows raised, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly problem, there might be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and keep foul air from drifting up into your home. It also keeps flies from hiding in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural problems with 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 encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can completely clog and become useless. The Rob's Albertan Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and knowledge to identify the problem and resolve it right away. We utilize a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s happening within the pipes, and multiple 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 clear leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Rob's Albertan 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.