Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and see a tiny creature buzz up out of the drain. Was that a gnat? Then you watch more of them flying around the kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wanting to know how they got in there and what can be done about them, you’re in the right place.
Why Are They Here?
Fruit flies exist all over the U.S., and mate 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 lured by moisture and rotten food, they’ll head for your trash can, your rotten fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and small pieces of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them come up out of the drain. This can be especially bad if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This preserves more moisture and food waste 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 carry 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?
Owing to this bacterial exposure, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and transfer germs. It’s better to use paper towels and throw them away.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you probably don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water into your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you should see some fruit flies attached to it.
Here are other barriers you can also try, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Put an ounce of wine into the jar. Make a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also utilize a funnel or paper cone in the place of 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 much harder for flies to break free.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize bringing in fruit flies:
- Clean your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate as soon as you can.
- Try not to keep overripe 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 like to keep windows open, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the above methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly issue, there might be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and keep foul air from drifting up into your home. It also prevents flies from living in your pipes and flying up from 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 search below for a leak. If you find one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can lead to 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 breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can completely clog and become inoperable. The Levy & Son Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to determine the problem and fix it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring inside the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also resolve leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Levy & Son Service Experts. 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.