Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a small creature buzz 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 live 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 lured by moisture and rotten food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and little bits of food. Occasionally you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be particularly frustrating if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This retains more moisture and food particles that draws 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 bring germs with them. This can include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial risk, keep high-traffic 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 better to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spray insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you ought to see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other traps you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also have a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Old 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 added, which makes it more difficult for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce immediately after bringing it home. Sometimes they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Avoid keeping old produce in your home. Buy only what you’re going 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 resolved your fruit fly infestation, there might be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and prevent foul air from drifting up into your home. It also keeps flies from hiding in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and lacks a water seal, this can create a fruit fly problem. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed quickly. 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 attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can completely clog and become inoperable. The Jack Nelson Service Experts 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 multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also clear leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at Jack Nelson 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.