Monday, October 1, 2012

How To Get Rid of Drain Flies

For two weeks, I have been battling small, flying bugs in the kitchen.  My normal methods to get of fruit flies were not working on these bugs, and I soon realized they were not, in fact, fruit flies at all.  They are a similar looking flying insect commonly called drain flies.  They are small moths that breed in standing water and in your drains.

Unlike fruit flies, drain flies are not attracted to fly strips or vinegar traps.  I was at my wit's end with these buggers.  I had to keep my kitchen meticulously clean at all times -- not an easy feat with three kids! -- and they still did not go away.

So I turned to Google for an answer.  I found out they were actually a small moth, and they live in wet places like a dish rag left on the counter or a drain.  They especially love a clogged drain.  The only real advice I could find to get rid of drain flies was to seal any plumbing leaks and unclog your drain with a foaming drain cleaner.  The foam cleans out all of the drain to flush the eggs.

tropical moth fly (Diptera: Psychodidae) - indet.
Yuck!

Instead of buying a chemical to clean my drains, I made my own foaming cleaner.  I filled my sink with ice cubes and squired about 1/2 a cup of dish soap.  I ran just enough cold water so I didn't ruin my disposal and turned the disposal on.  The soap bubbled like crazy and the ice cleaned my disposal blades.  I turned off the water and disposal and let the bubbles rise out of both sides of the sink.

Several hours later, I noticed that there were not nearly as many bugs.  Unfortunately, they came back that night.  So the next night, I bleached the sink again and plugged both drains for the night.  The next morning, there were less than 10 bugs.  I keep plugging the sink at night until they were gone.

But the first night I didn't plug my drains, the bugs were back.  These bugs have a short life cycle, but they can live up to three weeks.  Eggs can take up to four days to hatch.  So keep those drains plugged for several days after they all disappear!

I wish I had known this simple trick about two weeks ago!  I could have saved a lot of frustration, but on the bright side, my kitchen has never been so clean :)

Tips

  • Use a cleaner with vinegar, bleach, or alcohol on your counters and sink.
  • Do not leave any dishes sitting in your skin.
  • Do not let wet towels or dishcloths sit out.
  • Even though they are not fruit flies, they will eat food. Clean spills immediately and do not let any food sit out on the counter.  
  • Plug your drains as much as your can and especially all night.  Keep them plugged for several days after the bugs are gone.
  • If plugging your drains does not work, you either do not have drain flies or you have a small leak somewhere.