Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a small creature buzz up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you notice more of them flying around the kitchen. These annoying 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 live 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 decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and tiny bits of food. Sometimes you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be particularly bad if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This preserves more moisture and food particles that appeals to these insects and enables 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 acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to this bacterial risk, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and exchange germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you ought to see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other traps you can also attempt, all with a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit in place of wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using 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 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 contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't keep overripe produce in your home. 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 open, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved 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 capture water and keep foul air from drifting up into your home. It also prevents 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 lead to a fruit fly problem. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural problems with 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 breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become inoperable. The Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning plumbing team has the tools, experience and expertise to determine the problem and resolve it quickly. We use a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s happening in the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and severity 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 are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, call the professionals at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. 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.