Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them buzzing around your kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering how they got in there and what can be done about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies live 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 decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and tiny bits of food. Sometimes you’ll notice them come up out of the drain. This can be notably bad if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This maintains more moisture and food debris that draws these insects and lets them 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 can include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to this bacterial risk, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, 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, put boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you should see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other barriers you can also use, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine inside 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 rather than a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with 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 as well, which makes it much harder for flies to get away.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize attracting fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce immediately after bringing it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Try not to 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 open, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly infestation, there could also be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and stop foul air from drifting up into your home. It also keeps flies from living in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can create a fruit fly problem. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also hire a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining more slowly than usual. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become useless. The All American Air Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and knowledge to identify the problem and resolve it right away. We utilize a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s happening inside the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity 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, contact the professionals at All American Air 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.