Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and see a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you notice more of them buzzing around your kitchen. These aggravating 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 exist 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.” Since 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 full of moisture and small chunks of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them fly up out of the drain. This can be particularly likely if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This retains more moisture and food debris that appeals to these insects and enables them to thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies transfer from a dirty surface to a clean one, they bring germs with them. This may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to this bacterial exposure, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and exchange germs. It’s better to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you likely don’t want to apply insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you can see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other traps you can also try, 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 rather than a lid.
- Rotten 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 get away.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent encouraging fruit flies:
- Wash your produce immediately after bringing it home. Sometimes they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't keep old produce in your home. Buy only what you’re going to eat.
- Empty your kitchen trash often, and keep it closed.
- Keep your surfaces clean and disinfected.
- If you prefer to keep windows raised, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly infestation, there might 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 moving up into your home. It also keeps 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 lead to 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 cause mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also call 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 entirely clog and become unusable. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the tools, experience and know-how to determine the problem and solve it promptly. We use a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s going on inside the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is the garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also resolve leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. 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.