Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Is 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 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 attracted to moisture and decomposing 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. In some cases you’ll see them fly up out of the drain. This can be especially bad if you have a partly 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 move from a dirty surface to a clean one, they lug germs with them. This might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Because of this bacterial exposure, keep your home's 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 dispose of them.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other ideas you can also use, all with a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine in the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit rather than wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but with apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid in addition, which makes it more difficult for flies to get away.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid encouraging fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon as you take it home. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Avoid keeping 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, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly infestation, there could also be something wrong 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 problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural problems with 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 breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become inoperable. The Knochelmann Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and knowledge to diagnose the problem and fix it quickly. We employ a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s going on inside the pipes, and a number 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, contact the professionals at Knochelmann Service Experts. 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.