Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a small creature buzz up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you notice more of them zooming around your 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 survive 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 attracted to moisture and rotten food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is filled with moisture and tiny bits of food. Sometimes you’ll see them appear up out of the drain. This can be notably bad if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This preserves more moisture and food waste that appeals to 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 bring germs with them. This may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in severe 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 kills bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can soak up, retain and exchange germs. It’s best to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spray insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies stuck to it.
Here are other traps you can also use, all involving 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 rather than a lid.
- Old fruit—Same as above, but using rotten fruit instead 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 added, which makes it much harder for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.
To prevent bringing in fruit flies:
- Rinse your produce as soon you bring it home. Occasionally they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whenever you can.
- Avoid keeping spoiled 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 prefer to keep windows open, install well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly problem, there may be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to capture water and stop foul air from wafting up into your home. It also prevents flies from hiding in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and is missing a water seal, this can create a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look 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 call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slowly. This problem not only helps breed fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can completely clog and become inoperable. The A-PLUS Service Experts plumbing team has the tools, experience and know-how to determine the problem and fix it quickly. We use a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s going on in the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity of the blockage. If the problem is the garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also fix leaky pipes.
If you want any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at A-PLUS Service Experts. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers happy. 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.