Fruit Flies or Drain Flies?

Drain Fly (using a magnified lens)

For the past two weeks, my family has been dealing with what we thought were fruit flies. The weird thing, though, is that they just kept coming, even after we removed every edible food source on our counters. But for some reason we couldn’t get rid of those pesky fruit flies. Normally, fruit flies disappear as soon as the offending fruit is removed.

When I asked a few friends whether they were having the same problem, I was shocked to find out that everyone I know who I asked, and who lives in my neighborhood, reported the same issue. And when I posted a comment on my personal Facebook page about drain flies, I was shocked at how many people, from New York, to Chicago, had issues with the pesky bugs this year. One friend even mentioned that she had hired someone to come out to the house to look into the problem and that the bugs were not fruit flies. Instead, they were called “drain flies.”

Drain flies look very similar to fruit flies, but feed off of and lay their eggs in the accumulation of muck located inside the drain. When the eggs hatch, the drain flies fly up out of the drain. Most people report drain flies in the kitchen, since the kitchen drain is usually the most filthy. But some people can have them in their shower drains, too.

So how does one get rid of drain flies, you ask?

You could hire a plumber to clean out your drains. But if you’re like most of us these days, who has the money to do that?! On the suggestion of several friends, I placed a cup of apple cider vinegar on our kitchen counter. I added a few pumps of dish soap to the apple cider, and covered the glass with plastic wrap and punched a few big holes in it. Between 2pm and 10pm yesterday, my husband counted 16 dead drain flies at the bottom of the cup. Ewwww!

Of course, this approach will kill the living drain flies, but won’t eradicate the ones that will be born from the eggs living inside of our drain. So, I plan to try the following approach this weekend, which doesn’t involve any chemicals (i.e. Drano, bleach, etc.) or pricey plumbers.

How to Eradicate Drain Flies:
1) Pour boiling water down the drain, and use a disposable kitchen brush to clean the sides of the drain. We’ll wait a day or two to see if any drain flies accumulate in the apple cider vinegar.

If that doesn’t work, we’ll try the next approach, which we read here:

2) Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar into your drain. The two cleaners will cause a chemical reaction that results in a frothy mixture bubbling up from your drain. Wet a cloth and place it over the drain while the chemicals bubble to prevent the mixture from getting into your sink.

After the drain stops bubbling, slowly pour boiling water down the drain. Then turn your hot water on in your sink and allow it to run for a few minutes to clear the pipes.

Remove the drain’s cover and rotate a brush (a large toothbrush should work, but a kitchen scrub brush would work better) in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion to remove the organic matter from the drain.

Turn on the hot water to clean out the remaining muck from the drain.

-Do you have the same issue with these pesky drain flies in your house?
-How did you get rid of them?
-Why have drain flies been so prevalent this Fall? (Could the amount of rain the East coast has experienced this Summer/early Fall have something to do with it?)

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2 Responses to “Fruit Flies or Drain Flies?”


  • We have some sort of fly! Ours aren’t bad. I think I saw one today? Usually just one or two a day. I intend to use the baking soda/vinegar to clean all of our drains this weekend. We moved in recently and it’s clear this has never been done before.

    • I was only seeing a couple a day, too, until I put out the apple cider vinegar. I have no idea where those 16 drain flies came from! I didn’t even know they were all there. My parents have lived in the same house for a long time, and I don’t think they have ever cleaned out their drains. I find it very odd that this year everyone is having problems with them! :( I hope they all go away soon!

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