Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch 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 survive 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.” As they’re drawn to moisture and decomposing food, they’ll head for your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small pieces of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be especially bad if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This preserves more moisture and food waste that attracts these insects and allows them to thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies transfer from a dirty surface to a clean one, they lug germs with them. This may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial risk, keep your home's surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transport germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spray insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water in your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other ideas you can also use, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit rather than wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid in addition, which makes it more difficult for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize attracting fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Try not to keep overripe 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, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly infestation, there might be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and prevent foul air from wafting up into your home. It also prevents 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 lead to a fruit fly problem. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you find one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also call 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 fully clog and become useless. The Chief/Bauer Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to determine the problem and resolve it right away. We use a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring within the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity 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 need any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Chief/Bauer Service Experts. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers comfortable. 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.