If you suddenly notice vast numbers of small flies in your kitchen or bathroom, but can't pinpoint a source such as garbage or food accidentally left out, they may not be houseflies at all. They are probably drain flies (Clogmia albipunctata), which resemble small houseflies but are actually members of the moth family (Psycodidae). They may congregate around your kitchen or bathroom drain but can also swarm around windows, mirrors, lights or cupboard doors. While they are harmless to humans, they can be extremely annoying and hard to get rid of. However, with time and persistence, it can be done if you follow these three steps.
1. Remove the sink sludge.
Drain flies can reproduce prolifically, especially in dark wet places filled with rotting organic matter. They love to lay their eggs in dirty drains – the layer of biofilm or "sludge" that accumulates on the inside of drain pipes, strainers and garbage disposals provides the perfect conditions for their larvae to feed and hatch. Scrub the visible sludge from the sink and drain using a sponge or pot scrubber. You may need to use a small brush to dislodge the gunk from the inside of the drain
2. Apply a larval inhibitor, insect growth regulator or enzyme gel.
Even when you have removed most of the organic matter, larvae may still remain in your drain. A chemical-based larval inhibitor or insect growth regulator will penetrate the larval exoskeletons and kill them, preventing them from maturing and hatching. If you prefer not to use chemicals, you can use an enzyme-based drain gel. While this won't kill the larvae instantly, it will dissolve the biofilm and eliminate the larvae's food source so they'll eventually starve. The life cycle of the drain fly is approximately two to three weeks, so you'll need to treat the drains for 14-21 days to make sure any remaining larvae don't hatch.
3. Trap or kill the adults.
Drain flies are persistent, and even when your drains are sparkling clean they will seek other moist places to lay their eggs. By killing the adults, you'll prevent them from depositing eggs in your drains or other places in and around your home such as wet wood piles or rotting tree stumps. You can use household bug spray or set up sticky traps if you prefer not to use chemical insecticides in your kitchen.
To get rid of drain flies, you need to address the eggs, larvae, and adult flies simultaneously. If you've cleaned and treated your drains but can't seem to get rid of the flies, it's possible that they are laying eggs deep within your drain pipes. You may need professional assistance to completely remove the sludge. Contact a drain cleaning service to examine your drains, scour the pipes, and apply treatments if necessary to get rid of drain flies for good.
13 May 2016
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