Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you notice more of them zooming around the kitchen. These annoying 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 live 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 lured by moisture and rotting food, they’ll head for your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and tiny chunks of food. In some cases you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be notably frustrating if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This retains more moisture and food particles that appeals to 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 carry germs with them. This might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause serious 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 destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and transport germs. It’s better to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spray insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water into your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other barriers you can also attempt, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Add 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.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit rather than wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but with apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid in addition, which makes it harder for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid encouraging fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Avoid keeping old 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 like to keep windows raised, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly issue, there might be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and prevent foul air from moving up into your home. It also keeps flies from surviving 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 infestation. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also hire a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slowly. This problem not only helps breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can completely clog and become inoperable. The Church Services plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to identify the problem and solve it quickly. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring within 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 need any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at Church Services. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers satisfied. 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.