John Baethke & Son Plumbing
John Baethke & Son Plumbing
3511 N Cicero Ave
ChicagoIL 60641
 (773) 276-5430

How to Identify and Remove Drain Flies

How to Identify and Remove Drain Flies

Drain flies, sometimes referred to as pipe flies, are household pests that can carry germs and bacteria around your sinks and showers. To help keep your home free of the pesky invaders, your favorite Chicago plumber has a guide to familiarize you with the bugs and prepare you for battle. 

Identifying Drain Flies

Drain flies are a smaller species of airborne pest. Adult drain flies are usually less than 25 percent of the size of the common house fly, appearing more similar in size and shape to a gnat. Some larger varieties of drain flies can grow to be 1/5 of an inch long, but most don't manage to get over 1/12 of an inch.

Their coloring ranges from black to brown and they usually appear as dark specks from across the room. Their wings possess distinctive vein-like ribbing that fans outwards from the base of the appendage to the far edges. Adult drain flies possess elongated and curved antennae that are similar to a moth's. Fuzzy hairs cover the majority of their bodies, helping distinguish them from the bare skin of the fruit fly and other pests that have similar environmental preferences.

What Causes Drain Flies?

You will almost always find drain flies around drain openings leading to pipes that have built-up contamination hidden down the line. The drain flies plant their eggs at the sewage line so their larvae have time to grow in a fairly wet and nutrient-rich environment. Hair clogs are particularly attractive to drain flies as they provide organic material for consumption and create the damp environment that their larvae love. 

Drain Flies Are About 25 Percent of the Size of a Common House Fly

How to Prevent and Combat Drain Flies

Drain flies are designed for the damp and active environment of an area with high amounts of water. Their skin repels water and other liquids, making it extremely difficult to remove them through the use of bleach or other caustic cleaners. The eggs and larvae are just as resilient. Because of their durability, the best way to combat the bacteria-carrying pests is to make sure that your pipes are relatively clean and draining properly at all times with proper maintenance and care. 

Once they have established a foothold in your pipes, it becomes a matter of keeping the drains clean so that the adults and larvae starve. This will usually take about three weeks. If you notice an infestation of drain flies, the best course of action is to contact a plumber who can remove the habitat that fosters their growth by cleaning the drains with special tools like a hydro jet. Then, it's up to you to maintain the cleanliness of your sewage system.

If the flies are concentrated away from a drain opening, your pipes may have cracked or otherwise developed a leak that is creating a buildup of sewage — and a new home for the drain flies. If you suspect you may have a hidden leak, contact an emergency plumber service to repair it as quickly as possible.