Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a small creature shoot up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them flying around the kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking how they got in there and what may be done 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 drawn to moisture and rotten food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and tiny pieces of food. In some cases 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 draws these insects and allows them to thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies move from a dirty surface to a clean one, they carry 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?
Due to this bacterial exposure, keep your home's 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 better to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you can see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other barriers you can also attempt, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine in the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. 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 with apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid added, which makes it harder 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 minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Clean your produce immediately after bringing it home. Sometimes they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't keep spoiled produce in your kitchen. 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 like to keep windows open, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly issue, there could also be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and keep foul air from drifting up into your home. It also keeps flies from surviving in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can create a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural damage to 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 Neal Harris Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to determine the problem and resolve it right away. We use a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s happening within the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent 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, contact the professionals at Neal Harris 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.