Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them buzzing around your kitchen. These irritating 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 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 drawn to moisture and rotten food, they’ll head for your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and little bits of food. In some cases you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be especially bad if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This maintains 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 can 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?
Due to this bacterial risk, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and exchange germs. It’s better to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water into your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other barriers you can also use, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Add an ounce of wine into the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also use a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but using rotten fruit in place of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but you'll use apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid as well, which makes it more difficult for flies to get away.
- 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:
- Rinse your produce immediately after bringing it home. Sometimes they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Avoid keeping old produce in your kitchen. 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, install well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly problem, there might be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and stop foul air from wafting up into your home. It also stops flies from hiding 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 check below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed promptly. 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 encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become unusable. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the tools, experience and know-how to diagnose the problem and resolve it right away. We utilize a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s happening within the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent 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 need 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 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.