Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them zooming 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 you can do 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 decomposing food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and tiny pieces of food. Occasionally you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be particularly bad if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This preserves more moisture and food particles that draws these insects and lets them thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies transfer from a dirty surface to a clean one, they carry germs with them. This might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause acute 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 attract, retain and transport germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spread insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also attempt, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine in the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also use a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
- Rotten 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 added, 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 as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent bringing in fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce immediately after bringing it home. Sometimes they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Don't keep old produce in your kitchen. 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 want to keep windows raised, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly infestation, there might be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and prevent foul air from drifting up into your home. It also prevents flies from living in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly problem. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slower than usual. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can completely clog and become unusable. The Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to identify the problem and fix it right away. We employ a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s going on inside the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also fix leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning. 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.