Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them flying around your kitchen. These annoying little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering how they got in there and what can be done about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies exist 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.” Because they’re attracted to moisture and rotting food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and small bits of food. In some cases you’ll watch 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 appeals to 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 lug germs with them. This may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in severe 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 eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transfer germs. It’s better to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spray insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water into your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other ideas you can also attempt, all with a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine into the jar. Add 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.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit rather than wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but you'll use apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid added, which makes it harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid attracting fruit flies:
- Wash your produce immediately after bringing it home. In some cases they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Avoid keeping old produce in your kitchen. 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 want to keep windows up, install well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly issue, there could also be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the section 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 living in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you find one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also contact a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining more slowly than usual. This problem not only helps encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become useless. The Strogen's Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to identify the problem and fix it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s happening in the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and severity of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also fix leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Strogen's Service Experts. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers comfortable. 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.