Why Are Flies Coming Up Through My Drains? An Atlanta Plumber Explains

Walking up to your sink or shower and finding a swarm of small, dark, furry flies hovering over your drain is NOT a pretty sight.

So who are these fuzzy fiends and how do you get rid of them?

The black or brown flies/moths you see in your drain are most likely “drain flies” that live on decomposing, organic matter in your drains, which explains why they hang out near sinks or showers.

These flies are also referred to as:

  • Moth flies
  • Filter flies
  • Sewer flies

An up-close look at a drain fly. Source: Americaninsects.net

Drain flies themselves aren’t dangerous. But they do carry bacteria and other microorganisms from the drain to the inside of your home. AND they’ll breed like crazy if you let them.

So, yeah, drain flies don’t make for good roommates.

But don’t worry, we’ll show you exactly how to get rid of that batch you have now and how to prevent them from showing up again.

How to get rid of drain flies

Step 1: Determine that they are actually coming from the drain.

Fruit flies also have a tendency to hang around kitchen sinks and can be mistaken for drain flies.

If you don’t actually have drain flies, these instructions won’t really do you any good. So let’s first verify that the flies in your home are coming up from the drains.

You can do this by taking several pieces of tape and placing them directly over the drain
(But don’t completely cover the drain).

Leave the tape on overnight or for a few days. If you see flies stuck to the bottom of the tape you probably have drain flies.

Note: If you don’t see flies after the first night, continue taping the drain for at least 4 days. If you don’t see flies stuck to the tape after the first try it could just be that you found a lapse in breeding patterns.

Source: wikihow.com

Step 2: Clean your drain.

Once you know that the flies are coming from the drain, you’ll want to clean it out to get rid of the larvae and the layers of grime that they live on

First, pour at least a gallon of warm water down the drain. This will help loosen up bits of the sludge inside (but it’s not enough to kill the drain fly larvae). Note: Do NOT pour boiling water down your pipes, this can damage the system. Make sure the water temperature is lower than 140 degrees F to prevent damage.

If you have a flexible drain brush like this one, use it to further loosen and remove organic matter that’s stuck inside the drain.

Next, pour gel drain cleaner down the drain. We suggest an enzyme drain cleaner like this one as opposed to a chemical-based drain cleaner. Make sure you pour it from the edge of the drain to ensure that the gel coats the sides of the drain.

We suggest staying away from bleach or vinegar because they won’t break up decomposing matter as efficiently as gel drain cleaner. Vinegar combined with baking soda works as a suitable alternative to gel drain cleaner.

Finally, after several hours, flush the drain with water. If you still see flies coming up through your drain, try repeating this process for several days.

If you’ve tried this process several days in a row, you may need professional help breaking down the organic matter buildup inside your drain.

Step 3: Get extra help from an Atlanta plumber

If you’re having trouble getting rid of that slimy grudge inside your drain, your best bet is professional drain cleaning.

Looking for a professional plumber in the Atlanta area?

The professionals at Mr. Plumber offer water jet drain cleaning that will completely clean your drain and prevent further drain fly infestations.

We’ll follow up the drain cleaning process with video inspection to make sure the breeding grounds are completely removed so you won’t have future drain fly infestations!


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