Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a small creature buzz up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch 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 can be done about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies survive all over the U.S., and mate 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 rotting food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and tiny bits of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them come up out of the drain. This can be especially bad if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This maintains more moisture and food particles 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 might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in severe cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial risk, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and transfer germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spray insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you ought to see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other traps you can also try, all with a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine into the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also use a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit instead 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 in addition, which makes it more difficult for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce as soon you bring it home. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Avoid keeping 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 like to keep windows up, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly infestation, there might be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and keep foul air from wafting up into your home. It also prevents flies from hiding in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can create a fruit fly problem. 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 problems with your home.
You should also hire 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 fully clog and become unusable. The Pardee Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to determine the problem and fix it promptly. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s going on in the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and severity of the blockage. If the problem is your garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also handle leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Pardee 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.