Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing 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 zooming around the 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 survive 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 drawn to moisture and rotting food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small bits of food. In some cases you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be especially likely if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This retains more moisture and food waste 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 lug germs with them. This can 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?
Because of this bacterial exposure, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and transport germs. It’s best to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you likely don’t want to apply insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you can see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other barriers you can also use, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also have a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but use 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 much harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent attracting fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Try not to keep old produce in your house. 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 above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly infestation, there could also be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and prevent foul air from wafting 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 has no water seal, this can create a fruit fly problem. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also contact a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining more slowly than usual. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become useless. The Komfort Air Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to diagnose the problem and resolve it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s going on inside the pipes, and a variety 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 fix leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Komfort Air Service Experts. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers satisfied. 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.