Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you notice more of them buzzing around your kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking how they got in there and what can be done 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.” As they’re attracted to moisture and rotting food, they’ll head for your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and small chunks of food. Occasionally you’ll notice them appear up out of the drain. This can be especially bad if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This preserves more moisture and food particles that attracts these insects and enables them to 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 might 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?
Due to this bacterial exposure, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and exchange germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you likely don’t want to apply insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other ideas you can also use, all with a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine into the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit rather than 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 more difficult 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. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Try not to keep overripe produce in your house. Buy only what you’re likely to eat.
- Empty your kitchen trash often, and keep it closed.
- Keep your surfaces clean and disinfected.
- If you like to keep windows up, install well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly infestation, there may be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and prevent foul air from moving up into your home. It also stops flies from living in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and lacks a water seal, this can create 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 hire a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining more slowly 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 knowledge to identify the problem and fix it quickly. We use a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s occurring inside the pipes, and multiple 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 handle leaky pipes.
If you are looking for 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 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.