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Nearly every person has been affected by a drain fly invasion at some point in their lives. And if you’ve ever experienced the profound irritation of bugs hovering around you as you shower, you don’t care that these flies are small and mostly harmless.
It is your only desire to rid yourself of them. Stat.
This is the complete guide.
What is a Drain Fly?
Almost everyone in the world has asked this question at least once in their lives: “what are the little bugs coming out of the drain?” Well, they are drain flies.
Drain flies go by many names – sewer flies, sink flies, sewer gnats, and moth flies. They are one and the same true flies, which prefer to live where there is plenty of organic material to decay.
How do drain flies look?
Drain flies can also be called moth-flies. If you examine one closely, you’ll see why this moniker is so fitting – drain flies are covered in small hairs, which gives them a furry appearance, like a tiny moth.
The rounded wings of drain flies are always distinctive. These wings have hair-like, fine scales which disintegrate when they’re smashed. Drain flies come in a variety of colors, including a light brown to greyish-taupe. Sometimes they can be black.
Drain flies measure only 2-5 millimeters in length. And when something is so small, it’s very easy to mistake it for something else, like…
Drain Flies vs Fruit Flies
When you find tiny flies buzzing around the drain, it’s easy to think that you have a fruit fly problem. Fruit flies are something that most people have seen before.
Although drain flies, fruit flies, and other pests are small and annoying, they can also be very irritating.
But how can you tell the difference?
Take a closer look. Fruit flies have small furs, but drain flies look fuzzy and mothlike. Another indicator? Another dead giveaway? Fruit flies’ creepy, red eyes.
Make sure you verify the address. Because fruit flies love to infest food, such as vegetables and trash, they are also known as garbage flies. Drain flies, on the other hand, prefer to breed and live around drains, sewers, storm drains, dripping pipes, and other places where there’s likely to be moisture and standing water.
Nighttime and daytime Like us, fruit flies, too, are diurnal, meaning they are active throughout the day. Drain flies, on the other hand, tend to be nocturnal so you’ll most likely notice them hanging around sinks and drains in the evening hours.
Be observant of the flying. Although they have large wings and a name that isn’t drain fly, their flying skills are quite poor. They can only fly for short periods of time so when they move, it looks more like they’re jumping than actually flying. Fruit flies, on the other hand, excel at aerodynamics so you’ll find them easily and frequently flying around the places they infest.
Drain Flies or Gnats
A common household pest is also the fungus-gnat. The fungus gnat is another flying pest that often sneaks into homes on plants.
What is the best way to tell drain fly vs. gnats apart in your yard?
Take a closer look. The fuzzy, moth-like hairs they have on their bodies is one of the distinguishing features of drain fly flies. Fungus-gnats do not have this fur. A dead giveaway about fungus is their long and spindly legs. They look almost like little mosquitoes.
Make sure you verify the address. Because they feed on fungus, fungus gnats can be described as a fungus-loving species. Because of their fungus-like nature, they will often be seen hovering near houseplants. They’re also attracted to light so they may hang out around windows.
Fungus gnats don’t fly well so they tend to stay close to their homes and eat there. It’s unlikely you’ll find them around drains.
What is the origin of drain flies?
You were proud to be the proud owner one day of a sparkling and clean bathroom. You find that your bathroom is swarming with tiny flies. Is there anything else?
Most people assume that drain flies are emerging from pipes or drains and they have been there for a while.
In reality, however, drain flies tend to originate from outside. Places with standing water near your property – think: birdbaths, storm drains, the leaky underside of air conditioners, wet areas around the garbage and potted plants – can be breeding grounds for drain flies.
These flies can enter your home through small holes and open windows if they smell organic matter. Because they reproduce within 48 hours, a couple of drain flies may quickly turn into an infestation.
What do Drain Flys Eat?
A drain fly’s diet can be just as horrible as their living conditions. In fact, they’re one and the same.
The drain flies are attracted to the organic decaying matter in drains, which is why they love them so much. The slimy stuff you see around pipes and drains.
That is a drain fly’s favorite food.
How can drain fly be caused?
Standing water is the main cause of drain fly infestations. In fact, if you have drain flies in your bathroom, that’s a surefire indication that you have a drainage problem that has been causing slime buildup in the plumbing pipes.
These are some quick facts about what draws drain flies.
- Drain flies love standing water, and the moisture-decomposing organic matter it produces.
- These conditions are ideal for drain flies breeding and make them a good habitat. Drain fly larvae feed on the gunky muck and lay clusters of 10-15 eggs per day in shallow water.
- The slimy organic film that forms in sewers and drains is also a source of food for adult drain flies. They can however also eat flower nectar.
- Every place where there is constant moisture, decaying matter, or both, will be ideal for drain flies.
It is shocking to learn that drain fly eggs hatch within two days, and can live for as long as one week. You should act quickly if there are a few drain fly eggs in your bathroom. You don’t want to let a few drain flies go untreated.
What can you do to determine if your drain flies are present?
If you have little flies in the bathroom that never seem to go away, it’s likely you have drain flies. You can perform a few simple tests to confirm your suspicions.
Drain Flies: Duct Tape
You can seal the drain with duct tape and a clear, strong tape. You should leave the tape on for at least one night.
Drain flies will stick to tape when they try to fly away. This allows you to determine if there is a problem with drain flies and also gives you the opportunity to take a look closely to ensure they are not drain flies.
Examine for drain fly larvae
This is a grosser option, but you won’t have to wait overnight for results. You already know that drain flies lay eggs in drains, so the larvae can eat a lot of slimy sludge.
If you suspect you may have a problem with drain fly larvae, use a knife and scrape your drain. For live drain fly larvae, examine the sludge that you have scraped off with your knife.
Is it possible to see the larvae of drain fly? Larvae of the drain fly larva are tiny. But at around 4 to 10 millimeters long, they’re big enough to be seen by the human eye. The tube-shaped maggots have no legs and are long, slender.
If you do not see any drain fly larvae wiggling about, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a drain fly problem. If you continue to see drain flies or catch them on the tape, the eggs could’ve simply been laid deeper in the pipes.
How do you see drain fly eggs? Transparent eggs from drain fly larvae are laid in clusters of between 10 and 200 eggs. But it almost doesn’t matter what they look like because attempting to identify them is a fool’s errand. The eggs themselves are very small and no more than 1 millimeter. They’re also laid on wet, unattractive materials making it almost impossible for them to be identified.
In 3 Easy Steps, How to Remove Drain Flies
It is possible to eliminate drain flies by doing these two things.
- Eliminating slimy buildup This slimy film, which lines pipes and drains, is both food and breeding ground for drain fly larvae. Drain flies of all ages – eggs, larvae, and adults – feed off this buildup of organic matter. The eggs and larvae also live there.
- Killing drain flies. Getting rid of the slimy on the drain and pipes gets rid of the drain fly’s food source and kills drain fly eggs and larvae as well. What about the adult drain fly larvae that are still living in your toilet? You’ll need to kill them.
Here’s the step-by-step process to get rid of drain flies for good.
#1. #1. Let the water flow
Here’s one universal truth: if there are drain flies, there is almost always a slow or clogged drain.
After you have finished showering, take a look at the drain. Is the water completely drained? You can drain the water from that post-shower reservoir.
The first step in getting rid of drain flies, is unclogging your drain. It is possible to use a plunger or do the job yourself.
#2. Get rid of any accumulation
You can get rid of drain fly infestations by removing the slimy layer that has built up in pipes and drains. The drain clogger you used should’ve done much of the hard work. But a good scrubbing doesn’t hurt to fully dislodge stubborn grime as well as the drain fly eggs and larvae living in the scum.
You can use a pipe brush that is long and flexible to get into the pipes. Yes, it’s hard, dirty work but take satisfaction in the fact that hundreds of drain fly spawn are dying with every scrub.
#3. 3. Use a drain fly killer
With just the above steps, you’ve wiped out the next generation of drain flies. What about those drain flies in your bathroom?
They are not only annoying but can also cause more problems by laying eggs down the drains, causing a new problem. That’s the last thing you want. So you’ll need to kill off these pesky adult drain flies and prevent new drain fly spawn from developing.
To do, you’ll need to know how to kill drain flies.
Do drain flies bite?
There’s at least one good thing about drain flies: they don’t bite.
They aren’t aggressive and they don’t bite. Compared to other fly species (we’re looking at you, tsetse fly), they’re relatively harmless.
Do Drain Flies Cause Harm?
Drain flies don’t bite or sting. They also don’t spread diseases. But that doesn’t mean they are harmless, especially when they multiply into an infestation.
These are just a few of the many ways drain flies could be dangerous:
Drain flies can cause health problems by living in filthy conditions. They can transmit bacteria to any surface they touch, including sinks and countertops, as they move from the breeding site.
Certain people have developed allergic asthma after being exposed to drain fly larvae. Although this happens rarely, it is likely to happen if the flies are exposed repeatedly.
Do Drain Flies Have the Ability to Lay Eggs on Humans?
Only one story about a victim being infested is enough to scare you forever. The most anxious of paranoid people may be alarmed to find drain flies in their bathrooms.
The answer is: yes, but it’s very unlikely.
Myiasis occurs when the eggs of flies are found in human tissues. Larvae that are able to burrow under the skin become more severe when they hatch. There are a couple of cases where myiasis has been confirmed by the drain fly.
These cases, however, are rare and not common. You are still worried? For the vast majority of people, myiasis isn’t a likely reality because it requires a couple other predisposing factors to be present, like:
- Untreated open wounds
- There is no running water so the water required for bathing or rinsing must be kept in covered buckets.
- Pit latrines or unsanitary toilets
You are unlikely to be infested if you reside in North America. It is common to find it in areas without running water or toilets, and can be found most often in subtropical or tropical countries.
What is the average life expectancy of drain flies?
The one good thing about drain flies is that they don’t live long. Drain flies live for only 20 days, even in ideal conditions and with a good food source. Of course, there’s bad news, too: during that short time span, they mate.
Fun fact: Drain flies can mate all their lives. Although they may not choose to, drain flies only get the chance to mate one time.
However, drain flies can start very early. After leaving their pupal cases as an adult, drain fly larvae begin reproducing within hours. A drain fly infestation is possible, even though they have a short lifespan. One female drain fly may lay between 30 and 100 eggs before she dies.
They hatch within two days, then become sewage-feeding larvae. Drain fly larvae live for up to 24 hours before reaching the pupal stage. It can be as short as one day. And then boom – more drain flies buzzing around your bathroom.
Do Drain Flies Die in Winter?
Drain flies require constant moisture and a temperature of at least 70° F. So if you live in a place that gets arctic (we’re looking at you, Canada), you may be hoping that drain flies will simply die on their own in the winter.
What do you know? You’re right. You are correct. However, this does not mean that your bathroom should be too cold to kill drain flies. You may get rid of drain fly infestations by next year if you are able to do so. You can expect winter, drain flies.
Of course, if you’re one of the lucky people who live in places with moderate climates all year round, you’ll need to go with one of the best ways to kill drain flies instead of waiting for your moderate winter to do the job.
Luckily, getting rid of drain flies doesn’t have to take long.
Is it possible to get rid of drain fly larvae in as little time as two hours?
The good thing about most drain fly infestations is that it doesn’t take long to get rid of drain flies. You can eliminate your drain fly infestation in as short as one week by following the steps above.
Sometimes it takes longer to get rid of the persistent and most severe drain fly infestations. However, it is possible to get rid of drain fly infestations in your home and bathroom within a few weeks if you make regular efforts.
How to Avoid Drain Flies
Once you’ve gone through the hassle of getting rid of drain flies, you want to make sure they never come back again.
Below are some suggestions to help prevent drain fly infestations. Forever.
Clear your pipes
Because these slow drains create the ideal conditions for organic slime and gunk buildup, drain flies love them. To prevent them, the best thing to do is ensure that your drains are draining correctly. Green Gobbler Drain Clog Remover is safe for your drains.
Eliminate drain fly attractants
Even though drains may be free flowing and clear, constant humidity in bathrooms can cause the accumulation of slimy gunk and clogs to drains and pipes. Drain flies love to eat and breed in this sludge so don’t give them the chance.
Use a drain brush to clean your pipes and drains regularly.
Attention to drains that are not being used
You should run water through drains you don’t use often. You should do this at least weekly. You can also protect these drains from gunk buildup by inserting a Green Gobbler Drain Strip into them.
You can seal drains by covering them with tape or using a stopper if you are going on vacation. This prevents new drain flies from moving in and creating families while you’re gone.
Refuse to flush unused toilets
It is the same with toilets not used often. Flush them every week at least to remove any eggs or drain fly larvae that might have been present in standing water.
Remove standing water
It’s not just drains that can attract drain flies. A potential home is any area that has standing water or organic residue. These include mops in buckets full of water, potted flowers with water at the bottom, trash disposals and condensation pans. You should immediately inspect and clean these areas.
You may notice some adult drain flies appearing in your bathroom. This could signal a new problem. It is possible that the adults have laid eggs and created the next generation. Prevent the problem from growing.