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. Was that a gnat? Then you watch more of them zooming around your kitchen. These aggravating 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 mate 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 rotting food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small bits of food. In some cases you’ll see them fly up out of the drain. This can be notably frustrating if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This preserves more moisture and food waste that draws 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 carry germs with them. This may 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 exposure, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and transfer germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you probably don’t want to apply insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water down your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you ought to see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other traps you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine inside the jar. Add a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also use a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit in place 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 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 avoid attracting fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon you bring it home. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Don't keep spoiled produce in your home. 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 open, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly problem, there could also be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and prevent foul air from wafting up into your home. It also prevents flies from living 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 problem. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also contact a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slowly. This problem not only helps breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become useless. The Donelson Air Service Experts 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 happening within the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and severity of the blockage. If the problem is the garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also resolve leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Donelson Air Service Experts. 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.