Are you noticing a steadily growing fruit fly population in your home? Maybe you’ve noticed the fruit flies hanging around your kitchen sink and seen one or two go into the drain. You may have even caught the fruit flies coming out of the kitchen sink like a scene from a nightmare. To help you get to the root of the problem and solve it, we’ve put together this guide about fruit flies and how to get rid of fruit flies in the drain.
Let’s get started!
Fruit flies (a.k.a vinegar flies) belong to the family Drosophilidae. These flies like to feed on fermenting fruits and vegetables and lay their eggs on moist organic matter. This is the reason why they tend to be drawn to the kitchen sink. These pests can lay up to 2000 eggs, which hatch within 30 hours. In just 2 days after the larvae hatch, they become fully grown flies that live for about 15 days.
Another common pest that likes to use the kitchen sink’s pipes (among other drains) as their breeding ground is the drain fly. The ways to get rid of both types of pests are pretty similar since these insects undergo similar life stages. But if you want to be sure about which pest you’re dealing with, here are a few ways to differentiate the two:
Fruit flies by themselves are not harmful to humans. However, because they are awake at the same time as humans, they have a better chance of hovering over and landing on our food. This is a problem because fruit flies can carry germs from a dirty surface and transfer it to our food. They can carry germs such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli which are all known for causing food poisoning. This is definitely not the kind of pest you want in your kitchen.
One of the signs that you can look for is if you spot fruit flies hanging out around your sink. But of course, this is not a conclusive sign. After all, fruit flies can breed in other places such as on moist mops, overripe fruits lying around, and empty cans in the garbage.
Fruit fly larva or the fruit fly pupa may crawl out of the kitchen sink’s drain and the adult flies definitely have to leave at some point. If you want to be absolutely sure that these pests are breeding in the drain of your kitchen sink, tape a clear plastic food storage bag around the drain when it is not in use. This will ensure that you will catch any larva or pupa that could have strayed or adult fruit flies that are trying to fly out.
Take note that this is purely for finding out if the fruit flies breed in the pipes of your kitchen sink. Getting rid of them altogether is another matter that we’ll discuss in a later section.
It’s possible that a fruit fly may have strayed into your home through a window, door, or gap in the screen. Seeing one or two doesn’t automatically mean that the fruit flies are breeding in your house. Either way, it’s important to set traps for them or to swat them since they can be carrying dangerous bacteria that they can transfer to your food.
It’s a whole other matter if seeing fruit flies in your home is a regular thing and/or if you’re noticing that they are growing in number. This suggests that there is a breeding ground available for them (e.g. your kitchen sink, the mop, overripe fruits) inside the house or near to the house which allows the population to increase.
Absolutely. Kitchen sinks that are dirty, clogged, or even just semi-clogged are more suitable breeding environments for fruit flies. This type of drain will give the larva more organic material to feed on and a physical covering from running water. So if you are noticing a steady or increasing fruit fly population in your home along with signs of a clogged kitchen sink, it’s very likely that the two are connected.
As we’ve talked about in previous sections, fruit flies can breed on other surfaces aside from your kitchen sink’s pipes. To get rid of these pests, make sure that you also remove other possible breeding grounds. You may also want to check if your sink is really the cause of the infestation. In any case, the cleaning will be good for your kitchen sink.
First, check if the drain is clogged or partially clogged. You can do this by pouring ½ gallon of water down the drain and observe if it drains quickly. If the water stagnates for a while or drains slowly, it’s very likely that you have a clog in your kitchen sink. Check to see if you can dislodge the clog by using a plunger. If this does not work, it would be best to call an expert plumber to properly diagnose the problem and deal with it safely. Please avoid using drain cleaners as this can further damage your pipes.
Next, clean up the organic matter that is sustaining (or will sustain) fruit fly larva. Pour very hot water down the drain. We advise against using boiling water as this can cause some pipe materials to crack. After pouring the hot water, pour some white vinegar down the drain to finish off the larva. You may need to do this once a day for three days for good measure.
You can continue to tape up the drain with a clear plastic bag overnight just to be sure that no fruit flies are coming from the drain. Once in a while, you can use this method to check that no fruit flies are breeding in your kitchen sink. Along with this, keeping the pipes clean, is, of course, the best way to make sure that no pests can thrive on the organic buildup.
If you encounter a clog in your kitchen drain that does not respond to the plunger, the clog could be deeper or composed of a more stubborn material. In any case, using drain cleaners or bleach can be very harmful to your pipes. By getting an expert plumber on board, you will be able to save money by avoiding further pipe damage.
1st Rooter Plumbing is a leading provider of quick and reliable plumbing services for residential and commercial settings. We also handle emergency plumbing cases 24/7. Contact us today!