How to Identify Drain Flies & Get Rid of Them

After coming home from an extended vacation, you may notice some small, dark bugs flying around your home. They’re pretty small, and when you swat them, they turn into a cloud of dust, much like a moth. What are these things?

They’re called drain flies, and they can be a pretty annoying nuisance. Fortunately, if you notice a drain fly infestation, they’re usually easy to remove. That said, sometimes drain flies can be a persistent pest, which is when you need to call in the big guns. Here is everything you need to know about these bugs.

What is a Drain Fly?

A drain fly is a type of gnat, meaning that it’s small and has a pretty short lifecycle. The fly has three stages – the larvae, the pupa, and the adult. Larvae are long and thin and are often found near standing water. Pupae are a bit shorter and thicker, and then adults have wings. However, drain flies don’t fly very much. Instead, they tend to hop around when disturbed.

This species gets its name because it likes to breed in drains with standing water. So, you might notice some flies and larvae hanging around your bathroom or kitchen sink. Usually, drain flies will take advantage of your drains while you’re away, such as on vacation. Once the water starts running again, you should notice the flies disappearing.

Where Do Drain Flies Live?

In the wild, drain flies stick to standing water where food is plentiful. They breed and spread much like mosquitoes, although they are far less dangerous and deadly.

What Do Drain Flies Eat?

These gnats feed on rotting and decayed organic material. Both the larvae and adults will chew on dead matter like moss, bark, soil, and leaves. In your home, they can feed on leftover scraps.

Are Drain Flies Dangerous?

No, they’re not. Drain flies are more of a nuisance than anything else. Even if you have a significant infestation, they won’t do any damage to you or your family. The most hazardous aspect of drain flies is the scaly dust they produce when swatted. In large amounts, this dust can aggravate your senses and cause an allergic reaction.

Signs of a Drain Fly Infestation

Since the drain fly larvae and pupae are so tiny, it’s hard to spot them. Also, because these flies like to stay in dark, wet places, it’s hard to find breeding grounds. As we mentioned, the fly gets its name because they like to breed in sinks and drains, making them even harder to see.

Typically, the only way to know that you have drain flies is when you see adults buzzing around. Unfortunately, adult drain flies can lay hundreds of eggs within 48 hours, so you want to act quickly to remove the infestation.

How to Get Rid of Drain Flies

The best way to handle a drain fly infestation (and prevent a new one) is to inspect and clean potential breeding sites. In most cases, running water through your drains and toilets can flush out any eggs and larvae, removing them from your home.

That said, drain flies can breed in any standing water, including puddles and other wet spots that may be hidden. For example, if there is a leaky pipe in your basement or crawl space, drain flies can take advantage and use the water to lay their eggs.

Other times, your drain may collect water and continue to be a breeding ground, even after flushing it out. In that case, you can pour Bio Drain products to kill any eggs and prevent them from growing. Never pour toxic chemicals down your drain, as they could corrode your pipes and leach into the water supply.

In instances where you can’t find the breeding spot for drain flies (i.e., it’s behind a wall or inside a crevice), you should call the professionals. Charlotte pest control technicians can locate areas where standing water collects and clean them out. Best of all, they can lay down natural preventative solutions that will keep the drain flies from coming back.

When it comes to drain fly prevention, cleaning your pipes and sewage areas is going to be your best option. Since these flies feed on decaying matter, they prefer water with sewage over fresh, clean water.

Contact Carolina Pest and Keep Drain Flies Away

Since drain flies can spread so fast, removing an infestation can be challenging. Don’t get frustrated – call Carolina Pest instead. We’ll identify breeding spots and remove the flies so that they’re gone for good. Call us today for a consultation.

By Kristin Dodd

Kristin Dodd, the President of Carolina Pest Management, has been with the company full-time for over 20 years, but has been a part of the family-owned business for much longer. She is currently an active board member of the North Carolina Pest Management Association, and was the President from 2010-2011. She is a licensed operator in...