Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a small creature shoot up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them zooming around the kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking 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 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.” Since they’re attracted to moisture and decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small bits of food. Occasionally you’ll watch them come up out of the drain. This can be especially frustrating if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This retains more moisture and food particles that attracts 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 may 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?
Because of 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 absorb, retain and transport germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spray insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, pour boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other traps you can also use, all involving a jar:
- Wine—Pour 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 instead of a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but use 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—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid encouraging fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon you bring it home. Occasionally they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't 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 raised, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly issue, there might be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and stop foul air from wafting up into your home. It also prevents 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 create a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you find one, get it fixed quickly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also hire 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 entirely clog and become unusable. The Air Engineers Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and expertise to diagnose the problem and fix it right away. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring within the pipes, and a variety 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 resolve leaky pipes.
If you are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Air Engineers 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.