Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature buzz up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them zooming around your 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 live 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.” Because they’re drawn to moisture and decomposing food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and tiny pieces of food. Occasionally you’ll see them fly up out of the drain. This can be especially frustrating if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This preserves more moisture and food waste that attracts these insects and enables them to 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 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 absorb, retain and transfer germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spray insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other ideas you can also try, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine inside the jar. Add 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 in place of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid added, which makes it harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize bringing in fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Avoid keeping spoiled 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 want to keep windows raised, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t resolved 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 capture water and prevent foul air from drifting up into your home. It also stops 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 produce a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slowly. This problem not only helps encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can completely clog and become useless. The McKinley Heating Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and expertise to identify the problem and fix it right away. 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 need any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at McKinley Heating 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.