Why Are There Fruit Flies in My Kitchen Sink Drain?

Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature shoot up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you notice more of them buzzing around your kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re asking 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 spread 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 drawn to moisture and decomposing food, they’ll head for your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and little chunks of food. Sometimes you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be particularly frustrating if you have a partly clogged sink or disposal that empties slowly. This retains more moisture and food debris that attracts these insects and allows 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 might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can result in serious 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 destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and transport germs. It’s best to use paper towels and throw them away.

Bug sprays can kill the adult fruit flies but won’t get rid of the eggs. And you most likely don’t want to spread insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water into your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Every morning, you can see some fruit flies trapped to it.

Here are other traps you can also attempt, all with a jar:

  • Wine—Add an ounce of wine into the jar. Put a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can enter. You can also use a funnel or paper cone in the place of a lid.
  • Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but with rotten fruit in place of wine.
  • Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but with apple cider vinegar.
  • Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid as well, which makes it harder for flies to break free.
  • Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast as well as a teaspoon of sugar.

To minimize encouraging fruit flies:

  • Rinse your produce as soon as you take it home. In some cases they can contain fruit fly eggs or larvae.
  • Refrigerate whatever you can.
  • Don't keep old produce in your kitchen. 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, install well-fitted screens.

If the above methods haven’t resolved your fruit fly problem, there could also be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the area of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to hold water and prevent foul air from wafting up into your home. It also stops flies from living 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 problem. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you see one, get it fixed promptly. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural damage to your home.

You should also call a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slower than usual. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become useless. The D.A. Bennett Service Experts plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to identify the problem and solve it promptly. We use a video drain inspector to plainly see what’s going on in the pipes, and a variety of methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is your garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also handle leaky pipes.

If you are looking for any sort of plumbing service at all, get in touch with the professionals at D.A. Bennett 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.

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