Those small black flies in your kitchen are most likely phorid, drain or dark fruit flies. You should first identify the type of fly you are dealing with before assuming it is a fruit fly. The best way to get rid of them is by removing their food source and breeding grounds.
Nothing is worse than sitting down to eat a nice meal, only to spot flies buzzing around your kitchen or dining room. In most cases, homeowners can get rid of them without having to call a plumber or exterminator. In other cases, poor identification leads to improper treatment methods and never-ending pests.
Identify the Fly
There are a lot of different types of flies, but generally, kitchens are invaded by common fruit flies or drain flies.
The two look very different.
- Adult drain flies measure about ⅕ to ⅙ inch long.
- They appear dark, gray or brown in color.
- Wings are covered in fuzzy hair.
- Adult flies may have ovoid wings wider than their body.
- Some species can include flies that look like moths.
- They “fly” hop in short, jerky lines.
- Antenna are longer and contain segmented sections
- Commonly have red eyes and a striped abdomen.
- Tend to swarm near food.
- Hover over areas.
- No hairs on wings or body.
Getting Rid of the Flies
Fruit flies usually feed on and breed near fruit, garbage and dirty dishes:
- Remove all trash from the kitchen and surrounding area.
- Clean up dirty dishes or overripe fruit.
- Store fruits and vegetables in the fridge.
- Remove any potential eggs or larvae by washing produce after shopping.
- Wipe up any juice or alcohol spills.
Fruit flies can breed in garbage disposals, mop buckets and garbage cans. Females lay close to 500 eggs at once. These eggs hatch in roughly 24 hours. It is very important to remove their breeding site, and not just kill adult flies.
You can create this neat DIY trap to capture those adult flies while you work on removing their breeding site.
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
Fill a bowl with apple cider vinegar, cover with plastic wrap and poke small holes in the top. Flies will be attracted to the scent of the vinegar, but will be trapped by the plastic after entering.
Adding dish soap to the vinegar helps ensure flies that explore the liquid don’t survive.
We also tested straight apple cider vinegar in a wide mouth bowl and no cover. It worked just as well, to kill them!
Cleaning Drains & Removing Standing Water
Drain flies primarily breed in organic matter or standing water. In the kitchen, a common culprit is the sink or disposal. Cleaning your drains with a drain gel and using the disposal is a good way to prevent these issues from happening to begin with.
When drain flies start to breed in the organic buildup in pipes, the strategy changes a bit. First, try to clean out your kitchen sink and drain using a pipe brush.
Then, follow this with a good drain organic cleaner. Use the gel for several weeks as instructed. Scrubbing underneath the rubber drain gasket will also reduce the flies’ attraction to the area.
If you are still using a fridge or freezer with a water pan, flies and bugs can breed in the standing water. We recommend emptying this regularly.
Potted plants or flowers should be inspected for evidence of fly activity, especially when transferred in and out of the home.
Removing organic material where fruit and drain flies breed is the most important factor in eliminating them from your kitchen. Knowing where to look and cleaning the area is the most time-intensive part of the process. Having good sanitation and cleanliness in your kitchen can reduce recurrences.
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Last update on 2023-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API