You likely have drain flies to get rid if a lot of pests shaped like moths are suddenly buzzing around the drains. The drain in a home is the major area where bacteria or stagnant water gathers, particularly if that drain isn't used. And these stagnant waters are what drain flies love to stay.

In as little as 48 hours, drain flies can reproduce. Therefore, just a few flies can create an infestation in a short amount of time. It is a lot easier than you think to eradicate drain flies. All you need to know are a few pest control hacks and due diligence to stop them dead.

What is a Moth Fly?

A closer look on the body structure of a moth fly or drain fly

Moth fly larvae or Psychoda sp. the most commonly encountered species, are nearly transparent. They have a non-retractable black head and can sometimes be seen moving along the moist edges or crevices in shower stalls or bathtubs. These insects are sometimes even discovered submerged in the water of a toilet.

Why are they called Moth Flies?

When a drain fly holds its wings to their sides, it gives them the appearance of a moth--hence, the moniker "moth fly". However, moth flies are weak and irregular at flying, having flights that are hesitant, covering only a few feet of short, jerky lines.

Where are the Common Breeding Sites of Moth Flies?

Take swift action if you see these small flies buzzing in your kitchen. Find out where they are breeding, what attracts them, and how you can eradicate them.

Some common places these tiny flies might breed include flower pots, drain/garbage disposals, ripening fruit, and garbage cans.

Indoor breeding flies are often called drain flies, moth flies, fruit flies, vinegar flies, or fungus gnats.

Where Should I Clean to Get Rid of Drain Flies?

When you want to get rid of drain flies or small flies in house all of a sudden, you should clean all dirty garbage containers. Also, clean the wet lint that gathers underneath your washing machine. Even clean up any standing water that accumulates under the pots containing houseplants.

Outdoors you should inspect bird baths and air conditioners for any pools of stagnant water. Additionally, sometimes the source of an infestation is a nearby filter plant. Created when adult flies travel with the wind toward any sewage treatment facilities upwind of your home.

What do Drain Fly Larvae Look Like?

Moth flies larval form is around 4 to 5 millimeters (0.16 to 0.20 of an inch) long. Shaped like a somewhat flattened cylinder, it is long and thin. The body of a larvae lacks prolegs, but a series of annuli or rings divide its segments.

Another name for drain flies is sink flies, sewer flies, filter flies, or sewer gnats. These pests come from the family of true flies. Some of these genera have bodies that are show and hairy with wings that give them a furry, moth-like appearance.

The larvae mature in about 9 to 15 days; they are considered valuable organisms for purifying sewage water.

Characteristics of Drain Flies

Drain flies are typically gray in color. They are flies with small round wings and are sometimes called filter or sewer flies. If you've noticed lots of flies in your house suddenly, these pests might be the culprits. These flies are drawn toward standing water since they cannot fly well. Drain flies usually get around by jumping from surface to surface.

Adult flies usually live for about 20 days but cannot continue their life cycle when they have no place to lay eggs.

Where are these Drain Flies Coming From?

A drain at home where larvae of drain flies are naturally found


Drain flies are tiny insects; they are dark-winged and non-biting gnats. The larvae of drain flies are naturally found in an aquatic environment. It usually is the water surface that you might discover these insects intermittently submersed.

What are some Common Indoor Sites?

Drain flies might congregate in common indoor sites such as the fine slime layer found around toilet bowls and tanks. Also, in the sink, floor drains in garages or basements, or under the drain pans of a refrigerator.

Where do these pests reproduce?

Drain flies are most likely to reproduce in places where shallow water is or in highly moist organic solids. These places are where larvae feed on the decaying organic matter in water, moss, and mud.

Where are Drain Flies Likely to be Noticed?

Drain flies are nuisance gnats that can be discovered resting on ceilings or walls; if disturbed, they make short hopping flights. Because a moth fly forms in standing water, it is often recognized following an extended period when returning home from vacation.

Usually, once regular household activity resumes, standing water starts moving via drain traps and toilets. You will then be able to kill adult flies that remain following this type of small infestation.

How to Find Drain Flies

When looking for places drain flies might be occupying, inspect air conditioners, stagnant, shallow water pools, bird baths, and sewage treatment facilities upwind. Adult drain flies prefer to fly with the wind so that you can find them in these areas upwind.

You can also find these little flies in the house and in storm drains, near compost piles, and decaying logs. The adult flies are too tiny. They can easily pass through ordinary window screening.

Why Drain Flies Multiply Quickly

Flies in your house reproduce in highly moist organic material or shallow, polluted water. They feed on decaying organic matter, water, moss, or mud. You are likely to spot adult drain flies inside basements, kitchens, or on bathroom walls. Other locations that are popular drain fly hangouts are plumbing fixtures and sewer drains.

Garbage disposals, drain traps, overflow pipes and the sides of drains, toilet or septic tanks, and most compost are all popular places to find drain fly larvae. In addition, you might recognize breeding sites in rain barrels, tree holes, and even dirty garbage containers.

Are Drain Flies Harmful to Humans?

Drain flies are nuisance pest but don't bite humans


Drain flies or moth flies are more of a nuisance pest. They don't bite humans, and there is no evidence that they spread or transmit any diseases.

Unless promptly controlled, fruit flies in sink drain multiply quickly and become annoying. However, they will contaminate our food when they lay eggs on the stuff we plan on eating.

The trick to curing a drain or fruit flies issue is to find where the problem lies and get rid of what is attracting them.

How to Get Rid of Drain Fly Larvae?

Cleaning drain lines and plumbing fixtures is one way of decreasing or eliminating larval breeding sites. You can get rid of the larvae when you clean dirty garbage containers and eliminate standing water in house plant containers, bird baths, and other shallow, stagnant water pools.

The Life cycle of Drain Flies

Drain fly eggs hatch at 70 degrees Fahrenheit in approximately 32 to 48 hours when laid in moist matter. The larvae of drain flies eat microorganisms, sediment and algae, and other decaying organic material.

The larvae mature in less than a week to as long as two weeks. Larvae of the drain fly feed on the organic material in the sewer lines. They feed on the sediment and vegetation that is decaying, using tubes for breathing. The larvae also feed on microscopic animals and plants found in sewage filter plants. The adult flies will emerge from the breeding site after about twenty to forty hours.

How Long Can Drain Flies Live?

Drain flies can live for up to three weeks, and new eggs are hatching every 48 hours or so. Because of this rapid reproduction process, it is imperative to act rapidly when eradicating drain flies.

How Do I Kill Drain Flies?

Regular cleaning and careful attention can fix most drain fly issues within about a week.

.Here are some easy ways to get rid of drain flies:

  • You can start by cleaning pipes in your sink and drain with your usual cleaning solution.
  • Using a pipe cleaner, scrub around and inside the drain.
  • A super simple fix is to pour boiling water down the drain to eliminate drain flies. Boiling a medium-sized pot of water will get rid of fly larvae and remove any temptation for drain flies to return.

You can use these methods as both preventative and management tactics to help manage a drain fly infestation. The easiest method to get rid of drain flies is the boiling water technique. To clear out a drain fly infestation, please make sure to pour boiling water carefully down the drains at least one to two times daily for a week.

Do it Yourself Ways to Get Rid of Drain Flies

A DIY method to get rid of drain flies


You can use store-bought products or DIY home remedies to eliminate drain flies. Following a regular cleaning process can resolve most drain fly issues.

A simple do-it-yourself option you will find in the kitchen cabinets--baking soda! Form a blend of 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup salt, and 1 cup vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Pour this down the drain line and let it sit in the drain overnight.

You can also use heavy cardboard cut into a circle a little larger than the drain cover. You can leave this in place overnight or for several days to catch emerging adults.

Another way to get rid of drain flies is using a "snake" to clear clogged drains and clean the pipes of gelatinous material. You can also flush lines using bleach and boiling water.

How to Prevent Drain Fly Infestations

The best way to prevent an infestation of drain flies is to eliminate their breeding sites. You should clean drain pipes, the drain trap, and other plumbing fixtures that collect bacterial scum (gelatinous rotting, organic matter) within a building.

Small flies use the following as a breeding ground:

  • wash basins
  • moist flower pots
  • ripening fruit
  • any dampness created by leaking plumbing fixtures.

How to Control Drain Flies

Using an application of household aerosol insecticides, such as Raid, can control drain flies. You can even temporarily control these pests with an everyday common household flyswatter.

Likewise, you can also control a drain fly infestation using caustic drain cleaners, although they are not as effective as other methods. Never combine bleach with caustic drain cleaners because it releases chlorine gas into the drain pipes when you mix these two chemicals.

How to Solve a Drain Fly Problem

When trying to fix a problem with fruit flies or drain flies, you need to find and remove the sources of their attraction. Over-ripe vegetables and fruits attract fruit flies and drain flies.

Therefore, you should eat or refrigerate these products right away, and discard them when they become overripe. Ensure to empty garbage cans routinely and keep recyclables rinsed and free of waste residue. Additionally, individuals should completely rinse out mops after every use.

When it's Time to Call the Professionals

Clogged drains that already needs the help of a professional


If you have clogged drains or infrequently used toilet bowls, both identify breeding sites of these pests. The professionals at A.N.T. Pest Control know how to find where small flies breed and what is the best drain treatment. Call A.N.T. Pest Control today and get rid of those pesky tiny flies that are bothering you!

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1200 S Cedar Rd #2D/E
New Lenox, IL 60451


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