Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a small creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them zooming around your kitchen. These aggravating 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 survive 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.” Because they’re lured by moisture and decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little pieces of food. Occasionally you’ll see them fly up out of the drain. This can be especially frustrating if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This maintains more moisture and food particles that appeals to 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 carry germs with them. This may 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?
Because of this bacterial risk, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transport germs. It’s best 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 likely don’t want to spray insecticide all around 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 stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also try, all with a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine in the jar. Add a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also have a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but using 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 harder for flies to get away.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent encouraging fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce as soon you bring it home. Occasionally they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Try not to keep overripe 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 up, install well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly issue, there may be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and stop foul air from drifting 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 lacks a water seal, this can create a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also contact 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 inoperable. The Teays Valley Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to identify the problem and resolve it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s happening inside the pipes, and a variety of 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 clear leaky pipes.
If you are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Teays Valley 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.