What are Drain Flies?

Many people mistake drain flies for fruit flies. They are both very small flies, growing to about an eighth of an inch, but if you could compare them side by side, you’d see that fruit flies are yellow or tan in color, while drain flies are darker, either gray, brown or black.

Drain flies are also a bit moth-like in that they have a fuzzy covering. While fruit flies often stick to the kitchen, drain flies are attracted to any area with standing water such as drains, toilets, or clogged gutters. Both fruit and drain flies are capable of laying several batches of eggs in that time, up to 300 each time, so you'll want to get on top of eradication immediately. 

What Are Fruit Flies?

Fuit Fly

Fruit flies are primarily nuisance pests that are common in homes, restaruants and wherever else food is allowed to rot and ferment.  The front part of the body is tan and the rear portion is black.  Adult males can grow to 1/8 of an inch.


How to Get Rid of Drain Flies (or Fruit Flies that happen to be in your drains)

Both drain flies and fruit flies are capable of laying several batches of eggs in that time, up to 300 each time.

These insects are drawn by the scent of rotting fruits and vegetables. It doesn't matter how clean you counters are, but what washes down the drain. Both can carry bacteria to the various surfaces in your kitchen, increasing the risk of unhealthy exposures. It is essential to address this problem immediately. 

First let's address the drain itself:

    • Using a metal pipe brush, push it through the pipe back and forth as far as it will allow.
    • Follow by pouring lots of boiling water down the drain.
    • Pour 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and allow to sit overnight. You can also put duct tape over the drain until morning.
    • Follow with a pot of boiling water in the morning.
    • Pour boiling water (or boiling white vinegar) down the drain every day or two until you don't see any more fruit flies in the area.

Fruit and drain fly traps:

These have a very limited success rate. Even the fruit fly traps sold in box stores with a special brew have limited success in dealing with a fly infestation, however, when they're hovering in your space, you'll likely want to address this from multiple fronts so you can place out a cup of vinegar and dish soap. Add three drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar, and leave it uncovered. The soap cuts the surface tension of the vinegar so the flies will sink and drown.

More traditional remedies include the use of old wine or beer. Much like vinegar, fruit flies are attracted to the smell of wine. However, while theoretically the flies can't escape the skinny neck of a wine bottle, many will. One way to improve the effectiveness of a wine trap is to put a few drops of dawn in the wine to break the surface tension.

Drain Flies can reproduce rapidly, so it's essential that you continue the process of cleaning your drain consistently for about 3 weeks. It doesn't have to be every day, but the more frequently you address it, the better off you will be... and in the future, be sure to scrape your plates better before doing dishes to prevent leaving meal deposits for future infestations.