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. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them flying around your kitchen. These annoying little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking how they got in there and what may be done 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 attracted to moisture and rotten food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little bits of food. Occasionally you’ll see them appear up out of the drain. This can be especially bad if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This retains more moisture and food waste that attracts these insects and lets them thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies move 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 lead to acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Because of this bacterial exposure, keep high-traffic 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 cleaner to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to apply insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you can see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other ideas you can also use, all with a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine inside the jar. Add a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also use a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with 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 much 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 avoid bringing in fruit flies:
- Clean your produce immediately after bringing it home. In some cases they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Don't keep overripe 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 want to keep windows up, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly issue, there could also be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and stop foul air from wafting 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 has no water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural damage to 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 Epperson Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and expertise to determine the problem and solve it promptly. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring in the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is your 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 Epperson Service Experts. 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.