Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature buzz up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them buzzing around the kitchen. These aggravating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking how they got in there and what you can do 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 attracted to moisture and rotting food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and tiny bits of food. Sometimes you’ll watch them come up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This maintains more moisture and food debris 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 can include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can cause acute cases of food poisoning.
What Can I Do About Them?
Due to this bacterial risk, keep your surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that eliminates bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can attract, retain and transfer germs. It’s best to use paper towels and dispose of them.
Bug sprays can eliminate the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spray insecticide all around your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close up your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you should see some fruit flies trapped to it.
Here are other barriers you can also attempt, all utilizing a jar:
- Wine—Pour an ounce of wine inside the jar. Add a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also use a funnel or paper cone instead of a lid.
- Rotten fruit—Same as above, but use 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 as well, which makes it harder for flies to escape.
- Yeast—Add two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar.
To minimize attracting fruit flies:
- Wash your produce as soon as you take it home. Occasionally they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae.
- Refrigerate whatever you can.
- Try not to keep overripe produce in your kitchen. Buy only what you’re likely to eat.
- Empty your kitchen trash often, and keep it closed.
- Keep your surfaces clean and disinfected.
- If you want to keep windows up, put in some well-fitted screens.
If the listed methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly issue, 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 moving 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 lacks a water seal, this can lead to a fruit fly infestation. Run the water and look below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can lead to mold and structural problems with your home.
You should also call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining more slowly than usual. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become unusable. The San Antonio Air Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to determine the problem and resolve it quickly. 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 a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also handle leaky pipes.
If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at San Antonio Air 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.