Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a small creature fly up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them flying around your kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering how they got in there and what you can do about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies live 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.” Because they’re drawn to moisture and rotten food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little bits of food. Occasionally you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be particularly frustrating if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This maintains more moisture and food debris that appeals to 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 can include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can lead to serious 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 destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and transfer germs. It’s best to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spray insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you can see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other ideas you can also use, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine in the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also use a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit in place of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but with apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid added, which makes it much harder for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent bringing in fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Try not to keep old 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 open, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly infestation, there may be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and keep foul air from wafting up into your home. It also prevents flies from surviving in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can produce a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural problems with 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 breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become inoperable. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to diagnose the problem and solve it quickly. We employ 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 severity of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also handle leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, call 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.