Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a small creature buzz up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you notice more of them zooming around the kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering how they got in there and what may be done 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 lured by moisture and decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and small pieces of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them fly up out of the drain. This can be particularly likely if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This maintains more moisture and food waste that attracts 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 bring germs with them. This may 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 your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transfer germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also try, all with a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit instead 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 added, which makes it harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent bringing in fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon you bring it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Try not to keep overripe 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, install well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly issue, there might be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and keep foul air from moving up into your home. It also prevents flies from hiding in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can produce a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. 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 slowly. This problem not only helps breed 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 promptly. We utilize a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s occurring within the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity 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, get in touch with 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.