Having a current infestation of fruit flies in my house, I know this pain all too well. Fruit flies in drains, on fruit, on plants, on my cell phone screen as I’m scrolling social media before I go to sleep. Everywhere.
Are all of these tiny bugs fruit flies?
If you are seeing lots of tiny bugs in your kitchen, they are most likely fruit flies. However, they could be gnats, drain flies, or if they are crawling around near drains and not flying, springtails.
Getting rid of the tiny bugs in your drain can be handled in similar ways regardless of if they are truly fruit flies or one of these other tiny pests.
How do fruit flies get in the house?
Fruit flies can enter your house on the fruit you bring home, or come in the house because they smell ripening fruit sitting out on your counter.
You may not realize it, but the fruit you just brought home may have fruit fly larvae near the surface of the fruit.
Fruit flies go from larvae to adult in about a week and the adults can lay up to 500 eggs.
How to get rid of fruit flies
Fruit flies are attracted mostly to fruit, but also to dirty dishes, litter boxes, and food waste and sludge in drains.
To get rid of them, you need to get rid of their access to the things that attract them.
- Don’t let dirty dishes sit out
- Clean the litter box
- Clean the sinks
- Put fruit and vegetables in the fridge
- Clean the countertops
- Toss any overripe fruit
- Empty the garbage
- Clean the sink and shower drains/pipes
Once you take care of the things that are attracting them, set traps in areas where you see them most. This is to get rid of the fruit flies that are already in the house.
One popular fruit fly trap is made at home by pouring apple cider vinegar in a bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap and poking small holes for them to get in. They love the smell of apple cider vinegar, but they won’t be able to find their way back out once they enter the trap.
Another similar fruit fly trap bait is either red wine or beer. A small amount in the bottom of a bottle will reel them in. You can use a funnel in the top of the bottle to make it easy for them to get in and hard for them to get out.
You can also add dish soap to water and shine a light on the water at night to attract them. They will end up drowning in the soapy water. If you have a cat (or a dog that counter surfs), be careful to keep them from drinking the soapy water you leave out.
With any of the above traps, discard and refill often to keep catching more fruit flies.
How to get rid of fruit flies in your drains
Fruit flies, drain flies, and certain other small bugs like springtails can live and breed in the sludge buildup in sink and tub/shower drains.
The buildup can be from any organic material. Once they get under the sludge, it protects them from the water flowing down the drains and they can safely lay their eggs there.
So, if you have fruit flies around your sinks or showers, they are probably in the drains too.
Try one of the following methods to kill fruit flies and their eggs in drains.
- Pour boiling water down the drains – you may need to repeat this several times for a couple of weeks to get them all
- Pour baking soda, followed by white vinegar down the drain
- Use a drain cleaner that will break down and clean away the drain scum – note that products made to unclog drains may not break down the scum
How to prevent them from coming back
Don’t be afraid to continue eating fruits and veggies. All you need to do is take some steps to prevent another fruit fly infestation.
- Wash your fruits and veggies when you bring them home and get rid of the plastic bag you bought them in
- Cover or refrigerate your fruits and veggies
- Dispose of food scraps in an outdoor garbage bin
- Clean your dishes right away
- Avoid letting your sink and dish rags stay wet
- Let the soil in your houseplants dry between waterings
- Check the screens on your windows and doors to make sure there aren’t holes in them
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.