Burns Plumbing

How to Get Rid of Drain Flies

Dealing with drain flies is crucial for maintaining a clean and hygienic home. The most effective way to eliminate them is through proper drain cleaning and maintenance. By removing their breeding grounds, you disrupt their lifecycle and prevent them from returning.

Start by pouring boiling water down the drain to loosen any organic matter. Follow this with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to break down the gunk that flies thrive on. This simple method addresses the root cause, ensuring a fly-free environment.

For persistent infestations, consider using a drain gel cleaner to target the deeper layers of buildup inside the pipes. Regular cleaning and maintenance will not only eliminate existing flies but also prevent future issues.

Understanding Drain Flies

Drain flies are tiny insects, typically ranging from 1.5 to 5 millimeters in length. They have fuzzy, moth-like wings and bodies covered in hair, and they are usually grey or black. These flies have erratic flight patterns and rest with their wings spread out flat. Recognising these traits can help pinpoint an infestation early on.

Lifecycle and Breeding Habits

Drain flies lay their eggs in moist, decaying organic matter. A single female can lay up to 200 eggs, which hatch in less than 48 hours. The larvae, resembling tiny worms, feed on the organic material in drains for about 9 to 15 days. Upon reaching maturity, they enter a pupal stage and emerge as adults within 24 to 48 hours. This rapid lifecycle means infestations can expand quickly if not addressed.

Common Habitats and Signs of Infestation

Drain flies thrive in damp environments. Common areas include sink and shower drains, septic tanks, and wet mops. Signs of an infestation include discovering adult flies near these areas and finding larvae or pupae in the slimy film inside the drains. It is crucial to regularly inspect and clean these areas to prevent and control their population.

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Preventative Measures

To keep drain flies at bay, it’s crucial to maintain proper drain hygiene, implement regular cleaning routines, and eliminate organic material buildup. Here’s how to effectively manage these preventive measures:

  • Maintain Free-Flowing Drains:
    • Regularly check for clogs and ensure drains are free-flowing.
    • Scrub inside walls with a metal brush to remove biofilm buildup.
    • Pour hot water down the drains weekly to clear out debris.
  • Implement Regular Cleaning Routines:
    • Clean drain covers and surrounding areas frequently.
    • Use a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) down the drain, let it sit for an hour, then rinse with hot water.
    • Regularly clean garbage disposals using natural products like vinegar and baking soda.
  • Eliminate Organic Material Buildup:
    • Avoid pouring grease, food particles, or organic waste down the drains.
    • Install screens over drains to catch debris and clean them regularly.
    • Use enzyme-based cleaners weekly to break down any organic matter that accumulates, ensuring an inhospitable environment for drain flies.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies for drain flies include vinegar and baking soda solutions, DIY traps, and essential oils. These solutions are safe, simple, and effective for managing infestations.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution

Using vinegar and baking soda to eliminate drain flies is an effective natural method. Pouring half a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar, will cause a fizzy reaction. This reaction helps clean the pipes and remove organic material where flies breed.

Let the mixture sit for a few hours or overnight. Afterward, flush the drain with boiling water to wash away residue. Repeating this process weekly can prevent infestations.

DIY Drain Fly Traps

DIY traps are another effective way to manage drain flies. One popular method involves using a jar, apple cider vinegar, and plastic wrap. Fill a jar halfway with apple cider vinegar. Cover the top with plastic wrap, securing it with a rubber band.

Poke small holes in the plastic wrap. Drain flies are attracted to the vinegar but can’t escape the jar. Check and empty the trap daily until no more flies are caught.

Essential Oils as Repellents

Essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender can deter drain flies. Mix 10-15 drops of essential oil with a cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution around drains and areas where flies congregate.

The oils’ strong scents repel the flies, preventing them from laying eggs. Reapply the spray every few days for best results. These oils are natural and safe for use around the home.

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Chemical Solutions

When home remedies aren’t enough, chemical solutions offer a fast and thorough way to eradicate drain flies. Using insecticidal gels and liquids targets the flies directly at their breeding sites while ensuring safety precautions are meticulously followed. Here’s how these solutions work:

  • Insecticidal Gels:
    • Direct Application: Apply gels directly to drains and pipes where flies breed.
    • Adherence and Release: The gel adheres to surfaces, slowly releasing insecticide to kill both adult flies and larvae.
    • Prolonged Protection: Ensures continuous extermination and prolonged protection against infestations.
  • Insecticidal Liquids:
    • Deep Reach: Pour liquids down the drain to reach deep-seated larvae.
    • Rapid Action: Quickly kills larvae before they develop into adult flies.
    • Biofilm Elimination: Some liquids also remove biofilm, a primary food source for larvae, reducing breeding grounds.

When to Call a Professional

Calling a professional is essential when home remedies and over-the-counter treatments fail. If drain flies are numerous despite cleaning efforts or there’s uncertainty about their source, professional help is necessary. Severe infestations can indicate underlying plumbing issues that need expert attention. An early call to a professional like Burns Plumbing can prevent costly repairs and extensive structural damage.


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