Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you notice more of them flying around the kitchen. These aggravating 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 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 drawn to moisture and rotten food, they’ll head for your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and tiny pieces of food. Occasionally you’ll see them appear up out of the drain. This can be particularly frustrating if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This preserves more moisture and food particles that draws these insects and lets them 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 lead to 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 kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transfer germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spread insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you ought to see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other traps you can also attempt, all with a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine inside the jar. Add a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also use a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Rotten 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 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 and a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid 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.
- Avoid keeping old 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 like to keep windows up, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly problem, there might be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and stop foul air from moving 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 has no water seal, this can produce a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also contact 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 fully clog and become unusable. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to determine the problem and solve it quickly. We employ a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s occurring in the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is your garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also resolve leaky pipes.
If you are looking for 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 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.