Why Are There Fruit Flies in My Kitchen Sink Drain?

Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrubbing a dish in the kitchen sink and notice a tiny creature buzz up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you see more of them buzzing around the kitchen. These annoying little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wondering how they got in there and what you can do about them, you’re in the right place. 

Why Are They Here? 

Fruit flies live all over the U.S., and grow 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.” Since they’re lured by moisture and decomposing food, they’ll often end up in your trash can, your overripe fruit and the kitchen drain, which is packed with moisture and little pieces of food. Occasionally you’ll notice them fly up out of the drain. This can be notably likely if you have a partially clogged sink or disposal that clears out slowly. This retains more moisture and food waste 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 bring germs with them. This may include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can lead to serious cases of food poisoning. 

What Can I Do About Them? 

Because of 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 attract, retain and exchange germs. It’s cleaner to use paper towels and throw them away. 

Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t destroy the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spray insecticide all over your kitchen. Instead, run boiling water down your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. Each morning, you ought to see some fruit flies trapped to it. 

Here are other barriers you can also attempt, all involving a jar: 

  • Wine—Place an ounce of wine in 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. 
  • Spoiled fruit—Same as above, but use rotten fruit rather than wine. 
  • Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but you’ll use apple cider vinegar. 
  • Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid in addition, which makes it more difficult for flies to escape. 
  • Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar. 

To prevent attracting fruit flies: 

  • Wash your produce immediately after bringing it home. Sometimes they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae. 
  • Refrigerate whenever you can. 
  • Avoid keeping spoiled produce in your house. 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 like to keep windows raised, make sure they have well-fitted screens. 

If the listed methods haven’t taken care of your fruit fly infestation, there could also be a problem with your p-trap. That’s the section of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and stop foul air from moving up into your home. It also prevents flies from surviving in your pipes and flying up out of the drain. If your pipe has a leak and lacks a water seal, this can create a fruit fly problem. Run the water and search below for a leak. If you spot one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural damage to your home. 

You should also hire a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining slower than usual. This problem not only helps encourage fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can entirely clog and become inoperable. The Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing plumbing team has the equipment, experience and know-how to determine the problem and solve it right away. We utilize a video drain inspector to clearly see what’s occurring in the pipes, and multiple methods to clean them, depending on the type and extent of the blockage. If the problem is the garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also resolve leaky pipes. 

If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. 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.