Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and see a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you see more of them zooming around the kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking 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 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.” Since they’re drawn to moisture and rotting food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and little bits of food. Occasionally you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be especially likely if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This preserves more moisture and food debris that draws 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 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?
Because of this bacterial risk, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates 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 eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you can see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other barriers you can also attempt, all with a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone in the place of 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 as well, which makes it much harder for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce as soon you bring it home. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Don't keep overripe produce in your house. 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, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly problem, there could also be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and keep foul air from moving up into your home. It also keeps flies from hiding in your pipes and flying up out of 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 check below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural problems with 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 Barlow Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and expertise to determine the problem and resolve it promptly. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s going on inside the pipes, and a number 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 handle leaky pipes.
If you are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Barlow 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.