If you’ve returned home from a vacation to discover uninvited guests buzzing around your kitchen and bathrooms, you likely have drain flies. We field a lot of questions about these pests, so we thought we’d answer them here. Hopefully, you can use this information to identify where exactly they’re breeding and take action.
What are Drain Flies?
Drain flies are smaller than your typical housefly and fuzzier, too, resembling a moth. You’ll find them hovering around drain openings in your bathrooms and kitchen or resting on walls and ceilings.
They’re slow, flying only short distances, making them easy to kill. You can swat at them all you want, but you’ll never get rid of them that way.
One way to know for sure if you’re dealing with the pesky psychodidae is to place tape over suspect drains. Leave it overnight. If you find flies stuck to it in the morning, then you can draw the obvious conclusion.
When Do Drain Fly Infestations Happen?
Drain flies make themselves at home in the sludgy interior of the pipes where they feast on organic matter. To these flies, a slow or clogged drain is a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet. In that respect, they can actually be beneficial, breaking down build-up and grime in your drains, but they’re certainly no substitute for routine cleaning and maintenance.
Slimy drains are also ideal breeding grounds. Eggs are buried deep within the gunk, which protects them from running water. Fun fact: In their larval stage, they breathe through a small dark tube located on their posterior. Yep, they have a butt snorkel.
Infestations commonly occur when you’re away for an extended period, giving these bugs a chance to breed in stagnant water. However, outbreaks can happen at any time, even around sinks and drains that are frequently used.
Are Drain Flies Dangerous?
They’re harmless, but they’re certainly annoying and gross!
Home Remedies for Drain Flies
There are several home remedies you can try. Whether or not they work for you will depend on how severe the infestation is and how gunky your pipes are.
- Scrub your drains with a metal pipe brush and follow up with hot water.
- Trap flies with bowls filled with equal parts water, sugar, white vinegar and several drops of dish soap.
- Pour a ¼ cup of salt, ½ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit overnight and flush the lines with more hot water in the morning.
- Pour about ¼ a cup of apple cider vinegar into a cup and cover with plastic wrap. Puncture small holes in the wrap. Flies can get in, but they can’t get out.
Try any and all of these solutions and repeat until there are no more signs of drain flies. If that doesn’t do it, you may need to consult a professional exterminator. And if you have slow or clogged drains, get those taken care of ASAP.