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How to Get Rid of Drain Flies

Have you noticed tiny, moth-like flies hanging around your sinks, showers, or bathtub? As it turns out, these bugs aren’t regular moths, nor are they your typical fruit flies. They’re drain flies — insects that can live up to three weeks and reproduce every 48 hours.

“Drain flies,” which are also known as moth flies, sink flies, sewer flies, or filter flies, tend to gather around standing water. So, what causes drain flies? We’ll answer this question below, along with how to get rid of drain flies for good.

What Do Drain Flies Look Like?

These bugs, gray, black, or taupe in color, only measure up to one-eighth of an inch in size. They have moth-like wings and round, fuzzy bodies. Other features include tufts of fur and feather-like antennae on their heads.

What Causes Drain Flies?

When discussing what causes drain flies, stagnant water tops the list. Drain flies have a passion for moisture and humidity. These bugs thrive in humid environments and live in drains contaminated with sewage. You’ll probably find drain flies in your kitchen sink, sewer, or septic tank. They consume organic material found in stagnant water, including sewage and bacteria.

Since drain flies find their food near these drains, these are the locations where they also lay eggs.

Where Do Drain Flies Come From?

Drain flies are always looking for pools of sitting water and organic material. Because drain flies love to congregate in low places with stagnant water and sewage, they are often found near:

  • Kitchen and basement sinks
  • Shower and tub drains
  • Sewers and septic tanks
  • Wet mops
  • Storm drains

How Do I Know If I Have Drain Flies?

Now you know what causes drain flies, but how do you know if you’re dealing with a drain fly infestation? You can check for larvae and use the duct tape test.

Your drain is likely a breeding ground for drain flies. You can check for larvae by removing the drain cover and cleaning off some of the grime. If this is where the drain flies are breeding, you’ll be able to find tube-like larvae on the drain cover.

To use the duct tape test, seal off the top of your drain with a piece of duct tape and leave it there overnight. The flies will get stuck on the tape as they try to fly to the surface. You should repeat this test a few nights in a row to understand the scope of the infestation.

How To Get Rid of Drain Flies?

Before you panic and call one of our emergency plumbers in Surprise, AZ, and the surrounding areas, check out these DIY methods of killing drain flies for good.

Routine cleaning and preventing any stagnant water buildup are the keys to ridding your home of these pests. Here are seven tips on how to get rid of drain flies:

  1. Pipe Brush. Brushing the pipe with a pipe brush dislodges eggs and larvae from the pipe. To make sure all larvae are gone, pour boiling water down the pipe and clean the pipe brush.
  2. Boiling Water. Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain 1-2 times a day for an entire week. This flushes out the organic material buildup inside the drain.
  3. Baking Soda, Water, and Salt. Combine a cup of baking soda, a cup of salt, and water, then pour them down the drain. After letting the mixture sit overnight, flush the pipe with boiling water.
  4. Traps. Sugar, warm water, dish soap, and a cup of white vinegar make a strong trap. Combine these items in a dish; the bugs will fly to the mixture and get stuck.
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar. This common household item is an effective trap. Pour apple cider vinegar into a dish and cover it in plastic wrap. Poking small holes in the wrap ensures these bugs get stuck inside.
  6. Drain cleaner. Clear out residue with gentle enzyme drain cleaners. Check to ensure these products can be used repeatedly. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners as those can destroy your drains!
  7. Call a Professional. Pest control and professional exterminators know how to handle a drain fly problem and keep them from reproducing.

If you’re thinking your drain might be blocked and causing stagnant water to form, reach out to a plumbing service for help. For drain cleaning or other plumbing services, call Bumble Bee to speak with a plumber in Glendale, AZ.

A drain fly on a wet kitchen surface in Glendale, AZ.
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