Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and see a small creature shoot up out of the drain. Is 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 asking how they got in there and what may be done about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies live 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.” Because they’re attracted to moisture and rotten food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and small chunks of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them appear up out of the drain. This can be especially bad if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This maintains more moisture and food waste 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 carry germs with them. This may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause serious cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Because of this bacterial risk, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and transfer germs. It’s best to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you likely don’t want to apply insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other ideas you can also use, all with a jar:
- Wine—Add an ounce of wine into the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can access the wine. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit rather than 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 harder for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Put in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent attracting fruit flies:
- Clean your produce immediately after bringing it home. Occasionally they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Don't keep spoiled 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 up, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly issue, there may be an issue with your p-trap. That’s the area 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 has no water seal, this can create a fruit fly problem. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also hire a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slowly. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become inoperable. The Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and knowledge to determine the problem and solve it promptly. We use a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s going on in the pipes, and multiple 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 are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at Bryant Heating & Cooling 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.