Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them flying around the kitchen. These annoying 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 exist 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.” Since they’re lured by moisture and rotten food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and little chunks of food. Occasionally you’ll notice them fly up out of the drain. This can be particularly frustrating if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This preserves more moisture and food debris that appeals to these insects and allows them to 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 can include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to 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 attract, retain and transport germs. It’s better to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spray insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you can see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Pour 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 rather than a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but use 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 get away.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize bringing in fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon you bring it home. Sometimes they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Avoid keeping overripe produce in your house. 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 prefer to keep windows up, install well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly infestation, 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 stop foul air from wafting 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 produce a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slowly. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become inoperable. The Matz-Rightway plumbing team has the tools, experience and know-how to identify the problem and resolve it right away. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s occurring in the pipes, and a variety 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 handle leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Matz-Rightway. 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.