Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and see a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them flying around your kitchen. These annoying 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 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.” Since they’re attracted to moisture and decomposing food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and little pieces of food. Sometimes you’ll notice them appear up out of the drain. This can be particularly bad if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that drains 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 move 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 lead to severe cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Owing to this bacterial exposure, keep high-traffic surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and exchange germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them out.
Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you ought to see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other barriers you can also try, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Place an ounce of wine in the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also have a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but using 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 in addition, which makes it more difficult for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Pour 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. In some cases they can possess fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Avoid keeping 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 up, make sure they have well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly infestation, there may be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and stop foul air from moving up into your home. It also stops flies from surviving in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and lacks a water seal, this can produce a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can cause mold and structural damage to your home.
You should also contact 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 completely clog and become inoperable. The Broad Ripple Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and knowledge to diagnose the problem and solve it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s happening in the pipes, and a number 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 need any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at Broad Ripple 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.