Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and see a small creature shoot up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you notice more of them zooming around your kitchen. These annoying little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wanting to know how they got in there and what can be done 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 decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small bits of food. Occasionally you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This preserves more moisture and food debris that attracts 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 bring 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 risk, keep your home's surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and exchange germs. It’s best to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water into your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other ideas you can also attempt, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine inside the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also have a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but using rotten fruit rather than wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid in addition, which makes it more difficult for flies to escape.
- 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:
- Clean your produce as soon you bring it home. Sometimes they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Try not to keep overripe 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 prefer to keep windows open, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed 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 trap water and keep foul air from moving up into your home. It also stops flies from surviving in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can produce a fruit fly problem. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also call 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 useless. The Atmostemp Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to diagnose the problem and solve it right away. We employ a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s happening inside the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity of the blockage. If the problem is a 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 Atmostemp Service Experts. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers happy. 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.