PDF They Came from the Drain

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The few adults resulting from these small infestations can be killed easily with a swatter or flying insect spray. However, finding many flies over several weeks usually means a relatively permanent breeding site that must be found and eliminated. Ending a chronic infestation can be challenging. As with most gnats, the larval drain flies need moisture. They can live most anywhere that water accumulates for a week or more. Common indoor sites include the fine slime layer that develops along the water surface in infrequently used toilet bowls and tanks, in sink or floor drains in basements or garages, or drain pans under refrigerators.

Sometimes the gray, wriggling larvae can be seen swimming in the water. These areas need to be cleaned thoroughly with attention to removing surface films. It can be hard to recognize breeding sites because the larvae are small and easy to overlook. Emergence of flies may be detected by the use of a simple trap. Clear plastic cups with a very light coating of vegetable oil or petroleum jelly can be inverted over drains for several days to catch emerging adults and to identify breeding sites.

Pour 1 to 2 gallons 4 to 8 liters of warm water into the drain to moisten it slightly. Note that this is only needed if the drain is not used on a regular basis. Drains used on a daily basis are moist enough without taking additional measurements. Use a metal pipe brush. Twist the brush while slowly moving it up and down to remove grime from the sides of the pipe.

Fish out other grime with a plumbing snake.

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Insert a plumbing snake into the drain and twist it through the pipes to pull out clumps of grime that lie further down. Pour a gel drain cleaner into the drain. Apply roughly 4 oz ml of the cleaner around the edge of the drain. Applying the cleaner to the edge of the drain allows it to coat the sides of the drain and pipe as it glides down.

Gel cleaners are formulated to remove organic matter. You could also use enzyme or bacterial drain cleaners to remove organic material. Baking soda and vinegar poured down the drain may kill the flies; it will clean the drain at least. You may need to repeat the same dosage of drain cleaner once a day for five to seven days total. Finish up with a plunger.

Use a plunger to remove any remaining organic matter trapped in the sink. Use a fly swatter to kill adult flies. Go to the drain area and squash as many of the drain flies as possible with a standard fly swatter. While destroying the breeding grounds will prevent the flies from laying more eggs, you'll still have to deal with adult drain flies up to 20 days after you clean the drains.

As such, you may want to take extra measures to get rid of as many as possible. Apply a space spray. If a fly swatter is inefficient, treat the infested area with an insect spray that works in confined spaces. Close all the doors and windows in the space.


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Spray the insect poison upward for 5 to 8 seconds per cubic feet cubic meters. Leave the treated area and keep it closed for 15 minutes or more. Open all windows and doors after returning to the area. Run an electric fan, if possible, to help disperse any remaining spray. Reapply as often as once every week. Keep the drains clean. You should clean the drains in your house at least once every month, but if you've already had problems with drain flies, you may want to increase this to once every one or two weeks.


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A thorough cleaning is not necessary. Simply pour 4 oz ml of gel drain cleaner into the drain and let sit to maintain a continual state of cleanliness. For drains that are rarely used, such as in a garage or basement, pour a little mineral oil down the drain. This will prevent further infestations until water is run down the drain. Apply insect growth regulator. Spray an aerosol IGR directly inside the drain and along the drain lines. IGR prevents drain flies from breaking out of the larvae stage.

Since flies only breed once they enter the adult stage, this greatly reduces the number of flies breeding, thereby cutting down on future infestations. Do drain flies carry any diseases?

Can they contaminate food if they land on it? Drain flies are annoying, but harmless. You have nothing to worry about unless what you're seeing are not drain flies. Not Helpful 0 Helpful How do I figure out where small flies on my drain board are coming from? If there is a window near your sink, then close the window. If that doesn't work, take a piece of clear tape and tape it over the drain, sticky side down. In the morning, check the tape. If there are flies on the tape, that is your culprit. Not Helpful 2 Helpful I poured a few cups of bleach in the toilet tank while it was filling up, left it for a few minutes, then flushed it a few times.

It worked for me, but I've heard it damages the wax seal. So far it's been okay.

It Came From the Drain! Tales of Terrible Clogs

Not Helpful 12 Helpful Can drain flies breed in a septic tank and make their way out of bathroom drains? Can they travel through water-filled pipes? The larvae can, but not adults. If you have them, the larvae came up the pipes. Not Helpful 3 Helpful Not Helpful 5 Helpful When I have these very small flies with large wings, is it common to not see regular houseflies? These are drain flies; they don't compete with houseflies. You just don't have houseflies. Not Helpful 11 Helpful We think our drain flies are hatching from a large sump pump hole in our basement.

We have no exposed drains down there. Turn off your lights, get ready for frights! When the clock strikes midnight and the moon's full and bright, it's time for dread and fear. For Mr Midnight is here with two stories, double the danger and twice the terror! Soon, Jamie and her friends track their enemies to a cemetery and a sec Turn off your lights, get ready for frights!

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Drain Flies or Moth Flies | Entomology

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