Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a small creature buzz up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them buzzing around your kitchen. These aggravating 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 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.” Since they’re drawn to moisture and rotting food, they’ll head for your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little pieces of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them fly up out of the drain. This can be especially bad if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This preserves more moisture and food waste that appeals to 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 bring germs with them. This might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing 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 soak up, retain and transfer germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to apply insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water into your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other ideas you can also use, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Add an ounce of wine inside the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also use a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit instead 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 get away.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent encouraging fruit flies:
- Clean your produce immediately after bringing it home. Occasionally they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Try not to keep spoiled 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 like to keep windows open, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly issue, there could also be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and prevent foul air from moving 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 problem. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you see 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 slower than usual. This problem not only helps encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become inoperable. The Gordon's Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and expertise to diagnose the problem and resolve it right away. We employ a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s going on 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 want any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at Gordon's 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.