Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you notice more of them buzzing around the kitchen. These aggravating 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 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.” As they’re lured by moisture and rotting food, they’ll head for your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and tiny bits of food. Sometimes you’ll notice them appear up out of the drain. This can be especially 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 allows them to thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies move from a dirty surface to a clean one, they lug 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?
Due to this bacterial exposure, keep your 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 most likely don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water into your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other barriers you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine in the jar. Add a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit instead of 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 as well, which makes it more difficult for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid bringing in fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce as soon as you take it home. In some cases they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Avoid keeping spoiled produce in your home. Buy only what you’re most likely to eat.
- Empty your kitchen trash often, and keep it closed.
- Keep your surfaces clean and disinfected.
- If you like to keep windows up, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly problem, 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 moving 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 lacks a water seal, this can produce a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can cause 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 attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become inoperable. The Sunbeam Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and knowledge to diagnose the problem and resolve 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 extent of the blockage. If the problem is your garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also handle leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Sunbeam 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.