Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you see more of them flying around your kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wanting to know 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.” As they’re drawn to moisture and rotten food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little bits of food. Occasionally you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be particularly frustrating if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This retains more moisture and food particles that appeals to 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 lug germs with them. This may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can lead to serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Because of this bacterial exposure, keep your home's surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and exchange germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spread insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water in your drain. Before bed, block off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other barriers you can also try, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine into the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also use a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit in place 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 in addition, which makes it much harder for flies to get away.
- Yeast—Put 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 immediately after bringing it home. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Avoid keeping spoiled produce in your house. 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 open, make sure they have 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 area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and prevent foul air from moving up into your home. It also stops flies from hiding in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can produce a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you notice 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 breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become inoperable. The Peitz Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and expertise to determine the problem and resolve it quickly. We employ a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s going on in the pipes, and a number 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 handle leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Peitz Service Experts. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers satisfied. 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.