Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature buzz up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you see more of them buzzing around your kitchen. These annoying little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering 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 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.” As they’re drawn to moisture and rotting food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little chunks of food. In some cases you’ll watch them come up out of the drain. This can be especially frustrating if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This maintains more moisture and food debris 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 acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial exposure, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transport germs. It’s better to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water into 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 use, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Add an ounce of wine into the jar. Make 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 use rotten fruit rather than wine.
- Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but using apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid added, which makes it harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To avoid attracting fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon you bring it home. Occasionally they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Don't keep old 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 raised, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly problem, there may be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and stop foul air from drifting 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 has no water seal, this can create a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you spot 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 encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become useless. The Finch Air Conditioning & Heating plumbing team has the equipment, experience and expertise to determine the problem and fix it right away. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s happening in the pipes, and multiple 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 Finch Air Conditioning & Heating. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers comfortable. 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.