Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature buzz up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them zooming around the kitchen. These annoying 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 exist 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.” Because they’re lured by moisture and rotten food, they’ll head for your trash can, your rotten 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 partially clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This retains more moisture and food waste that attracts 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 lug germs with them. This may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can lead to serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to this bacterial risk, 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 transfer germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to apply insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, put 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 ideas you can also use, all with a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine in the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit in place of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but with apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid added, which makes it more difficult for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent attracting fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Try not to keep overripe produce in your home. 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 up, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly infestation, there might be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and keep foul air from drifting up into your home. It also prevents flies from living in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can produce a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also hire a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slower than usual. This problem not only helps breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become unusable. The Climate Control Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and know-how to determine the problem and fix it right away. We use a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s happening within 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 fix leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at Climate Control 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.