Fruit flies and drain flies are tiny pests that can quickly multiply in your home and cause a major annoyance. Whether they're hovering around your fruit bowl or infesting your drains, these pests are not only a nuisance, but they can also carry harmful bacteria and contaminate your food. In this article, we will explore the effectiveness of bleach for killing fruit flies as well as a better method.
What are Fruit Flies and How Do They Multiply?
Fruit flies are small, brownish-yellow insects that are approximately 1/8 inch long. They are attracted to moist, sugary or starchy substances and are often found near rotting fruit, vegetables, trash cans and drains. Once they have found a source of food, they can lay their eggs in your drains which hatch within a few days into larvae. This can quickly lead to a fruit fly infestation if not dealt with promptly.
Will Bleach Kill Fruit Flies?
Bleach is a powerful cleaning agent that is commonly used to kill a variety of household pests, including fruit flies. The active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, disrupts the cell membrane of the insect, causing it to die. This makes bleach an effective solution for killing fruit flies living in drains however, it will not get rid of them. This is because only a small number of drain flies, fruit flies or sewer gnats need to survive your bleach attack for them to come back in numbers (and quickly).
Bleach is also a harsh chemical that should be used with caution, especially if you have pets or young children in your home. Furthermore, people who live on a septic system should not pour bleach down the drain to kill fruit flies as it will disrupt the balance of their septic system.
For these reasons, we do not recommend pouring bleach down your drain to kill fruit flies, drain flies or sewer gnats.
The Effectiveness of Other DIY Fruit Fly Elimination Methods
Some people try pouring apple cider vinegar, dish soap with hot water or baking soda down the drain as a natural remedy to kill fruit flies. Although it is not toxic like bleach, it still does nothing to prevent the fruit fly eggs from hatching inside of drains and garbage disposals.
A DIY fruit fly trap will catch the flies temporarily reducing their numbers, but again it will not stop the living flies from laying more eggs and coming back. Fruit fly traps are also not ideal to keep around food.
The Proper Way To Kill Fruit Flies (at the source)
We've established that trying to directly kill fruit flies is not an effective solution. This is because a small number of fruit flies need to live and they can continue to reproduce. The best way to get rid of fruit flies is to destroy the fly’s breeding and development habitat in your sinks drain.
The flies lay their eggs in the drain scum (or biofilm) that coats your pipes. Over time this drain scum builds up as you wash food and other organic matter down your drain.
A bio enzymatic drain cleaner contains all-natural bacteria that eat away at the drain scum in your drain pipes. With no where to lay their eggs, the flies life cycle ends. This is the only way to fully end a fruit fly infestation.
After about a week, the fruit fly infestation will be completely gone.
Picking A Bio Enzymatic Fruit Fly Killer
There are a few different options of bio enzymatic fruit and drain fly treatments available.
1. Bio Drain by Rockwell Labs has been around for a very long time. It is a drain cleaner first, that in turn eliminates the drain scum the flies lay their eggs in. It has a citrus scent to leave your drains smelling fresh.
2. A lesser known, but still effective solution is Natural Armor's Fruit & Drain Fly Killer. It has an added citronella scent to the gel to repel the fruit flies preventing them from coming back. Natural Armor is a solid choice however, you have to use double the amount per dose (8 oz) as opposed to 4 oz per dose.
3. We recommend EcoStrong's Drain and Fruit Fly Eliminator. Instead of citronella, it has added vetiver fragrance. We find this does a better job a preventing the drain flies and fruit flies from coming back (it even smells nicer). You also only need 4 oz per dose.
At the time of writing this article, EcoStrong's Drain and Fruit Fly Eliminator has the highest review rating on Amazon of a 4.3 out of 5 of the 3 products listed.
How to keep fruit flies and drain flies from coming back – The Pro Tip
So you've used a bio enzymatic drain fly treatment to eliminate fruit flies and they are all gone. Amazing! Over time, drain scum will start to build up again. All it takes is a couple infested bananas and the flies are back.
By dosing your drain once per week with a bio enzymatic drain fly treatment, you can keep your pipes free of drain scum and your house free of fruit flies.
In conclusion, bleach is an unsafe and ineffective solution for killing fruit flies because the remaining fruit flies can still reproduce. Remember, the key to successfully getting rid of fruit flies is to eliminate their breeding spots in your drains. The best way to do this is with a bio enzymatic fruit fly killer. These treatments destroy the fly's habitat in your sink preventing them from being able to lay eggs and reproduce. A clean drain is a fly free drain.