Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature buzz up out of the drain. Was 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 asking how they got in there and what may be done about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies live 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.” As they’re lured by moisture and rotting food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and small chunks of food. Occasionally you’ll notice them come up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This preserves more moisture and food debris that draws 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 might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can lead to severe cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to this bacterial risk, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and transport germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spread insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other ideas you can also attempt, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine in the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also use a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with 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 harder for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize encouraging fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon you bring it home. Sometimes they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Try not to keep old produce in your house. 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, install well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly problem, there might be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and stop foul air from wafting up into your home. It also keeps 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 look below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also hire 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 completely clog and become unusable. The Stark Services plumbing team has the tools, experience and knowledge to diagnose the problem and solve it quickly. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s going on within the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity of the blockage. If the problem is your 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 Stark Services. 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.