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. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them buzzing around the kitchen. These irritating 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 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 decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and tiny bits of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be especially frustrating if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This preserves more moisture and food waste that attracts 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 may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause severe cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Because of 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 transport germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water down 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 involving a jar:
- Wine—Add an ounce of wine into the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also use a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but using rotten fruit in place of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using 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 break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid bringing in fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon you bring it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Avoid keeping overripe produce in your house. 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 up, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t taken care of 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 wafting 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 lead to a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also contact 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 inoperable. The A1 Chesney Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and expertise to determine the problem and fix it right away. We use a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring within the pipes, and multiple 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 fix leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at A1 Chesney Service Experts. 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.