There’s nothing worse than a kitchen swarming with bugs. They’re unpleasant, they’re irritating and they’re unclean. Fruit flies and other small kitchen flies hang out around decaying material and can spread bacteria throughout your home. The sooner you can get rid of them, the better. To do it, learn what attracts them and then take steps to eliminate the problem.
Fruit Flies or Drain Flies?
Your kitchen can attract several different types of tiny flies. When you first see little flying bugs swarming in your kitchen, you might automatically assume they are fruit flies. It’s possible, but they may also be drain flies, especially if they’re hanging out in your sink area.
One of the most distinctive features of fruit flies is their red eyes. They may be brown or yellow, and their bodies may have stripes or spots. Fruit flies love overripe or rotten produce, and they often congregate near fruit bowls and dishwasher drains.
Drain flies, also known as sink flies or sewer flies, look like little gray moths. In fact, moth fly is another name for this creature. These insects are gray or black and have a fuzzy appearance. Attracted to decaying material, they often infiltrate sinks, showers, septic tanks, sewers, and trash cans.
While it’s interesting to note that your fruit fly infestation might not be fruit flies at all, it won’t make a huge difference in your next steps. Both fruit flies and drain flies can be treated using similar methods.
What Attracts Flies
There are a variety of ways that small flies might first enter your house. Sometimes, you may bring them in on the produce you purchase at the store. Other times, they may hitch a ride on new houseplants. These little critters are tiny, so they can also make their way through window screens.
Once inside your house, flies will look for food to sustain them. If they find it, they may settle in, lay hundreds of eggs, and leave you with a fly infestation. Both fruit flies and drain flies eat organic material. Fruit flies’ preference is for rotten produce, and drain flies enjoy anything that’s decomposing, especially if it’s located in standing water.
Is there old food caught in your drain or pipes? If so, that could draw either fruit flies or drain flies to your kitchen sink. Plus, any drains in your house could harbor stagnant water where sewer flies might hang out. Sinks and showers that don’t get used often can be especially prone to that problem.
How to Clean Your Drains
If you have flies swarming around your drain, it’s time to do a deep clean of your pipes. You can often do this with simple household materials.
Start by boiling a pot of water. After allowing it to partially cool, dump the water down the drain. It will kill the adult flies and the larvae. Just don’t use fully boiling water; that has the potential to crack your pipes. After pouring in the water, follow it up with white vinegar for good measure. If you repeat this process several days in a row, you may get a handle on your fly problem.
An alternative method involves salt, baking soda, and vinegar. Stir together one part salt and one part baking soda. Pour the mixture into the drain, and then add two parts vinegar. Let it rest overnight. In the morning, rinse the drain with a pot of hot water.
These methods are good for killing flies and loosening debris that has built up in your pipes. It may not be sufficient for fully cleaning out the organic material that makes your drain attractive to flies, though. For that, you’ll need to use some elbow grease. A pipe brush is often effective for scrubbing the inside of the drain and pipes. A more serious clog may require the assistance of a plunger.
You can also turn to plumbing professionals for help with your dirty or clogged drains. Most plumbers advise against using commercial drain-clearing products. Instead, call the pros to address any major clogs or drain buildup. You can also ask your plumber for advice about commercial drain chemicals designed to kill sink or fruit flies.
Getting Rid of Fruit Flies
If the flies aren’t only hanging out around your drain, then you will need to take additional steps to get rid of them.
Remove all fruit and vegetables from your counters. Wash the surfaces they were on using soap and water.
To kill flies instantly, spritz them with rubbing alcohol. Either 70% or 91% concentration will work. Avoid spraying this on food and wash the alcohol off with water before setting any food on those surfaces.
Fly traps can help too. Put apple cider vinegar, fruit juice, wine, beer, or red wine vinegar in a small dish. Add dish soap. The flies will land in the dish and become trapped in the liquid. The soap alters the surface tension so the flies can get in but not back out.
You can also add one of those liquids to a bottle and place plastic wrap over the top. Make small holes in the plastic wrap that the flies can fit through. They’ll be able to get in, but they probably won’t be able to find their way back out.
Other Tips for Sink Flies
If you aren’t sure whether your fruit fly infestation is coming from your sink, you can run tests for a few nights in a row. One option is to cover the drain with duct tape. When you remove it in the morning, check to see whether the tape has any flies stuck to it. Another option is to tape a plastic food storage bag over the drain. Like duct tape, the bag will catch any flies that try to make their way out of the drain at night.
If home remedies for dealing with fruit flies aren’t taking care of the problem, it may be time for professional help. It’s possible that you have a pipe problem, such as a p-trap that needs to be replaced. You may also have partial clogs that are harboring decaying material that feeds flies. A plumber from Green Energy Mechanical Inc in Canton, will take care of those issues so that you can get rid of the fruit flies and keep them away.
Once you fix your fruit fly or drain fly issue, consider covering your drains at night. That way, new flies that arrive at your home won’t have easy access to the inside of your home. Also, make sure to clean your counters regularly, use fruits and vegetables as soon as they ripen, and store produce in covered containers whenever possible.
Whenever you need a plumber, whether for fruit flies or another concern, turn to Green Energy Mechanical Inc. We offer a full range of plumbing services, including clog clearing, leak detection, and pipe repair. In addition, we service, install, and maintain air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters, heat pumps, and other household systems. Call us today to schedule your service.