Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a small creature shoot up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you see more of them flying around your kitchen. These annoying 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 exist 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.” As they’re lured by moisture and rotting food, they’ll head for your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and tiny bits of food. Occasionally you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be especially frustrating if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This maintains more moisture and food waste that draws these insects and enables them to 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 may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can lead to serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial exposure, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transfer germs. It’s better to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spray insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you ought to see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine into the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Spoiled 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 more difficult for flies to get away.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce immediately after bringing it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Avoid keeping spoiled produce in your home. Buy only what you’re likely to eat.
- Empty your kitchen trash often, and keep it closed.
- Keep your surfaces clean and disinfected.
- If you prefer to keep windows raised, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly infestation, 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 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 lacks a water seal, this can create a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed right away. 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 encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become useless. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the tools, experience and knowledge to determine the problem and solve it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s happening inside the pipes, and a variety of 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, call the professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. 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.