Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and see a small creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you notice more of them flying around your kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wanting to know how they got in there and what may be done about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies live 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 old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small pieces of food. In some cases you’ll see them appear up out of the drain. This can be notably frustrating if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This maintains more moisture and food waste that appeals to these insects and allows 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?
Because of this bacterial exposure, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and exchange germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you ought to see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other ideas you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine inside 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 use rotten fruit instead of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using 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—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize attracting fruit flies:
- Clean your produce immediately after bringing it home. Occasionally they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't keep overripe produce in your home. 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 want to keep windows open, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly problem, there could also be an issue 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 stops 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 produce a fruit fly problem. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you find one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining more slowly than usual. This problem not only helps encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become inoperable. The TML Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to determine the problem and fix it promptly. We use a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s happening within the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also fix leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at TML 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.