Exterminating and Avoiding Infestations of Drain Flies in a Residential Home

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What is the Drain Fly?

The drain fly is recognized as pyschodidae by the scientific community. They are members of a suborder of the nematoceran family. They have been called by several names, a moth, sewer, or filter fly, among them. They’re small, approximately ¼ inch as adults. They lay their eggs in dark, humid or moist areas, and they have the normal cycle for most entomological creatures—eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults that appear from the pupae stage entirely developed. These flies live on average 2or 3 weeks and only breed once. Their bodies are small and hairy, and their wings are large—compared to their bodies—with distinct veining. There are dark brown to black as adult, and can have fairly long antennae.

How do you get Drain flies?

Since drain flies are inadequate fliers, they are blown about on the wind. Once they have reached an area, they find ideal breeding spots in damp murky areas. They can be found in drains, sewage pipes, bathrooms—in particular shower pans. Outside, they will breed in standing water, over-growth, and anywhere there is moist with decaying matter. They can breed in compost bins as easily as they reproduce in drains. They will also establish nests in septic tanks and soil that has been soaked in sewage or debris. Their eggs are usually found in sludge or similar sites where decay or water build up has occurred.

What do Drain flies eat?

Drain flies eat fairly disgusting matter. They eat decaying plant life and animals. They eat sediments and the sludge in drains. The good news is that drain flies are not known to bite, however, their diets can make them hazardous in other ways. It is possible for them to carry bacteria from their breeding sites to other areas in the home.

How do you know if you have Drain Flies?

Drain flies are predominantly nocturnal and can be found on walls, sides of tubs and showers, and areas surrounding their nests. They generally hop about—sort of a bouncing flying motion—or run on surfaces. At night, they will be more active near nests. Only the males seem to be attracted to light, so a light source will not draw the breeding females to it.

When you notice activity near a drain, you can determine if it is the breeding source or not by placing a cup, coated in a sticky substance—oils or Vaseline—over the drain. If it is a breeding area, the adults will rise up and become stuck within the cup. If there is more than one drain, such as a double sink, cover both the openings at the same time. Drain flies can also be found in wet lint, refrigerator pans, etc.

Can Drain flies be drowned?

Because of their small hairy bodies, you cannot drown a drain fly. They aren’t susceptible to bleach, boiling water, or most household products, either. They are exceedingly resilient creatures because of their natural abilities to live in wet, moist and warm spaces. Drain flies can even be found where there is little to know water available. The larvae survive in pipes by existing within air bubbles.

How do you get rid of Drain flies?

Because of their limited mobility, drain flies are not usually an infestation problem. However, when they do invade an area, it can be quite extreme. They become fully mature in 20 to 40 hours from birth. If a drain fly lays 30 eggs, within 2 days the mature flies could lay another 30 eggs each. Once you start to do the math, you can see how a couple drain flies can create an infestation in a few short days.

Since they’re not highly susceptible to sprays, it’s more problematic to kill a swarm of drain flies. The best solution to ridding your home of a drain fly infestation is to eliminate the nest. As previously stated, you can identify the nest in open areas by capping a drain with a cup or some other object filled with a sticky substance, but not all nests can be as easily identified. Drain flies can be within walls near cracked pipes or beneath concrete pads—such as the homes foundation—where a pipe has cracked or broken.

Most nests are found near the drains entrance in your sink, tub, or shower, but some breeding sites are much deeper in the pipe and will have to be flushed out with chemicals. Some nests can be found in areas of the home that are less-visited, such as the basement. The more common nesting sites are easy to locate and are not expensive to treat, but when the areas are located in more hard-to-reach spaces, they can become quite costly to exterminate.

Drain cleaners that are meant to eliminate sludge build up are a decent product to use to eradicate the nest, but you will need to find an exterminator in extreme cases. Swatting the adults will kill them, but they are less likely to be eliminated using aerosol sprays.

How do you avoid getting Drain fly Infestations?

Start by keeping drains clean and free of hair and substances that can create sludge. Get rid of standing water that can stagnate and create a breeding ground for the flies. Regular use of drain cleaners will keep the pipes clean and cut back on the chances of getting drain flies. Many of the same things should apply to avoid infestations by any insect that breeds in stagnant water or lives predominantly in aquatic environments.

For all of your fly problems, including drain cleaning, Alliance Pest Services has a solution for your specific problem. Call today for free site evaluation and fly source identification inspection.  

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