Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature buzz up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you see more of them zooming 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 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.” Because they’re lured by moisture and rotting food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and small chunks of food. In some cases you’ll see them fly up out of the drain. This can be particularly frustrating if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This preserves more moisture and food particles that attracts these insects and enables them to 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 lead to acute 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 destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and transport germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to apply insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also use, all with a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine in the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also have a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Spoiled 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 much harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid attracting fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce immediately after bringing it home. Sometimes they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Try not to keep spoiled 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 open, put in some 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 area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and keep foul air from drifting up into your home. It also stops flies from living in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and lacks a water seal, this can produce a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also hire a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slowly. This problem not only helps encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become inoperable. The Golden Seal Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and expertise to identify the problem and solve it quickly. We use 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 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 fix leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Golden Seal 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.