Oh the horror. You've refrained from keeping fruits and veggies on your counter, cleaned out your refrigerator, and scrubbed every nook and cranny of your kitchen with bleach, but the fruit flies still come. Every day you wake to find their numbers more plentiful, their forces stronger. Finally, you decide that this is a war you can't fight alone -- you've got to call in backup. Before you pick up the phone and request a chemical warfare attack from your local exterminator, read on to learn why your plumber reigns supreme in fruit fly control.
You Have Misidentified The Enemy
Drain flies are the same size as fruit flies (up to 1/8 inch long) and look very similar. If you've misidentified a drain fly problem as a fruit fly problem, you're targeting the wrong locations in your battle.
How do you know for sure if you're up against drain flies or fruit flies? You've got to get close to your enemy. Find a fly that has wandered away from the other troops and look it dead in the eyes. Are its eyes red? Is its abdomen slightly darker than its head and thorax? Yes? Then it is indeed a fruit fly.
If, upon examining the little winged soldier you see that its entire body and head are black and it's covered with tiny hairs, then you're actually dealing with an infantry of drain flies.
Now that you've identified your enemy, you can look for their hiding spots.
Your Enemies Are Hiding In Your Drains
If you've scouted the area and can't find any apparent bases from which the flies are attacking from, you can rest assured that they're using your drains as secret foxholes and bunkers. Which drains they're using depends on what kind of flies they are.
Fruit flies prefer garbage disposals as their main bunkers. While fruit flies aren't especially fond of water, they do need moist organic matter to survive, and all of those fruit and veggie scraps your push down your garbage disposal provide the perfect nourishment for them. If you're dealing with a fruit fly infestation, you can end the battle now simply by cleaning your garbage disposal to eliminate their food source.
Drain flies, on the other hand, are far less picky about their dietary choices. They'll eat any bit of food debris, hair, or skin dander that goes down any of your drains. They aren't deterred by water at all. In fact, they use stagnant water as breeding grounds and can trap air bubbles to remain submerged for a full day at a time! These are highly indestructible soldiers, which is why they're often found to be the real culprits by people who complain that their fruit flies "just won't go away".
If you have drain flies, there's likely a clog somewhere in your drain line backing up your water and providing them with a perfect hidden camp. This is where the plumber comes in.
Annihilation, For Real
Thanks to their cool bubble-trapping ability, you can't drown drain flies, or kill them by dumping a bunch of bleach down your drain. An exterminator may be able to use a pesticide to take out the flies that aren't submerged, but your problem will return as those who are able to evade the poison will just rebuild their camp in the backed-up water of your clogged drain.
The only way to effectively kill a troop of drain flies is to find the clog in your drain and fix it with the help of a plumber.
Your plumber has a specially designed camera probe that can locate your clog even if it's hidden deep within your drain pipes. He or she can then remove the clog with a safe-for-your-pipes drain cleaner, or with a plumbing snake. Finally, they can flush your drain with a cleaner specially formulated to kill any bacteria the drain flies may have left behind.
If you have fruit flies that won't go away no matter what you do, you're probably not dealing with fruit flies at all. Drain flies look very similar to fruit flies, except they're far more difficult to get rid of. And, when in a war against the often misidentified drain fly, your best ally isn't your exterminator -- it's your plumber. \
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