Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a small creature shoot up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you notice more of them flying around the kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering how they got in there and what you can do about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies survive 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 attracted to moisture and rotten food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small chunks of food. In some cases you’ll watch them fly up out of the drain. This can be especially likely if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This preserves more moisture and food particles that appeals to these insects and allows them to thrive and reproduce.
How Bad Are They?
When fruit flies move from a dirty surface to a clean one, they bring germs with them. This can 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?
Owing to this bacterial risk, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and exchange germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to apply insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you can see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other ideas you can also attempt, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine inside the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also have a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but using 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 break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent encouraging fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon you bring it home. Occasionally they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Don't keep overripe produce in your home. 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 up, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly problem, there could also be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and keep foul air from drifting up into your home. It also stops flies from hiding in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also contact a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slower than usual. This problem not only helps encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become useless. The Midway Services plumbing team has the equipment, experience and expertise to diagnose the problem and resolve it promptly. We employ a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s going on within the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is the 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, get in touch with the professionals at Midway Services. 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.