Drain flies, known by other names such as moth flies, sewer flies, or drain moths are “furry”-looking insects, ubiquitous residents of the moist-laden areas of the home. These include bathrooms and, obviously, drains and sinks. Although they’re classified as a flying insect, drain flies can’t fly properly. They instead dart and flit along, often resting after a bout of flying in the vicinity of a sink, usually a wall. A drain fly’s preferred mode of mobility is walking along a surface.
Drain flies are a nuisance, especially as they breed in less than hygienic conditions. They like to feast on rot and decaying organic matter, which, of course, the presence of water hastens along. The question is, are they harmful?
Identifying Drain Flies
Fortunately, drain flies are mostly harmless, but they are annoying. These tiny insects, which are shaped like a chevron when their wings are flat (and have a distinctive pattern on the wings) are about an eighth of an inch or 3 to 5 millimeters long. They look like moths because their body is covered in fine hair. When you crush them on the wall, they leave a powdery residue.
There are over 2,600 recognized species of drain flies, but the most recognizable is the Clogmia albipunctata, which is described with its prominent antennae. When you speak of a drain fly, this is the species most aptly described.
Drain Fly Habitat
Drain flies regularly show up in bathroom or kitchen sinks that are stagnant, not used regularly, or neglected. They usually appear while you get home from a vacation, although they can also be active and troublesome in areas even if these have human traffic or attention.
These bugs have a beneficial role in the ecosystem, however. As they consume the decomposing matter or gunk stuck in drains, but the nuisance begins when they multiply quickly. Adult drain flies have a lifespan of only 12 days, but female drain flies can lay up to a hundred eggs, which hatch in as little as two days.
Getting Rid of Drain Flies
A drain fly problem means your drains have become their breeding ground or your area has poor sewer drainage and management. Simply calling a pest exterminator or a drain-cleaning specialist in Utah can solve the problem, but you can also do a few things on your own.
Drain flies lay their eggs in decaying matter on the walls of the drain or the pipe, so it’s a good idea to scrub these with a long-handled steel brush. You can pour boiling or scalding hot water on the drains (taking care to douse the inner surface of the pipes). You can pour boiling water on your drain twice a day for a week, then later see if the problem has been resolved.
Another method is to lure the flies to a food source, which will trap them. Apple cider vinegar can attract these flies easily. Do this by filling a cup with apple cider vinegar and wrap it with plastic. Poke small holes into the wrap and leave it overnight near a sink or toilet. The flies will naturally be drawn into the vinegar and will find their way through the holes, but they won’t be able to escape and drown in the vinegar.
Drain flies are annoying little insects, and they connote a dirty, unmaintained kitchen or bathroom. If you have guests coming over, it would be a good idea to exterminate these flies before your visitors arrive.