Drain flies, also known as moth flies, are often associated with unsanitary conditions in drains where they lay their eggs and develop as larvae. These small insects are typically found in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements near floor drains and other moist areas source. However, not all drain fly infestations originate from drain systems.
In some cases, drain flies may breed in other areas that provide a suitable environment for their growth and development. Examples of such breeding sites include dirty garbage containers, rain barrels, and tree holes or in moist compost source. Identifying the true source of an infestation is crucial for effective and long-lasting drain fly control.
Identifying Drain Flies Not Coming from Drains
Drain flies are not always found in the drain. They can also come from outdoor sources. Some examples of outdoor sources include:
- Sewage systems: Drain flies can proliferate in sewage systems where there is decaying organic matter, which they feed on.
- Compost heaps: If the area is moist and contains decomposing organic material, it can become a breeding ground for these insects.
Drain flies can also breed in the moist soil of your potted plants. To identify if they originate from your plants, look for:
- Larvae in the soil: Inspect the soil of your plants for any white or translucent larvae.
- Adult flies near plants: If you notice adult flies near the potted plants, it’s a sign that larvae may be present in the soil.
It’s important to manage moisture levels in potted plants to prevent infestation.
Another breeding source for drain flies can be toilet tanks. They can breed in the small amounts of standing water inside the tank. Key signs to identify infestation:
- Adult flies near the toilet: Presence of adult flies around the toilet indicates possible breeding in the tank.
- Larvae in the tank: Check the toilet tank for larvae to confirm the infestation.
Proper cleaning and regular maintenance can help prevent drain flies breeding in toilet tanks.
Here’s a comparison table to help identify drain flies from other common household pests:
|Drain Flies||1/16-1/4 inch||Fuzzy, with wings covered in scales, pale brownish-gray to black||Drains, moist soil, toilet tanks, sewage systems|
|Gnats||1/32-1/4 inch||Tiny, long-legged, various colors||Soil, decaying plants, overwatered plants|
|Fruit Flies||1/8 inch||Small, red or brown eyes, tan or black body||Fruits, vegetables, trash cans, fermenting liquids|
Remember to address the source of the infestation and maintain cleanliness to prevent reoccurrence of drain flies in your home.
Potential Breeding Sites
Garbage and Recycling Areas
Drain flies may not always come from drains. They can also breed in garbage and recycling areas where there is organic material. Proper disposal and regular cleaning of these areas can help avoid infestations. For example:
- Proper disposal: Seal garbage bags tightly and store them in a covered trash can.
- Regular cleaning: Empty and wash trash cans frequently to remove any organic residue.
Composting is an excellent way to recycle organic waste, but it can also attract drain flies. To discourage breeding:
- Turn the compost regularly to aerate and prevent standing water.
- Cover compost bins with a tight-fitting lid.
Dog kennels can become breeding grounds if not maintained properly. Some tips for managing drain flies in kennels include:
- Regularly clean and dry the kennel floor.
- Remove any standing water or organic material.
Rain barrels can provide a breeding ground for drain flies if not managed properly. To prevent infestations:
- Use a mesh screen to cover the opening of the barrel.
- Eliminate standing water around the barrel base.
Birdbaths can provide a breeding area for drain flies as well due to standing water. Changing the water frequently helps prevent infestations. Tip: Avoid overfilling the bath to minimize organic residue accumulation.
|Breeding Ground||Prevention Method|
|Garbage/recycling||Seal bags, use covered cans, clean regularly|
|Compost bins||Turn compost, cover bin|
|Dog kennels||Clean and dry kennel, remove organic material|
|Rain barrels||Use mesh screen, eliminate standing water|
|Birdbaths||Change water frequently, avoid overfilling|
Methods to Eliminate Drain Flies
Summarizing Natural Remedies
- Boiling water: A simple remedy to tackle drain flies is pouring boiling water down drains weekly to flush out larvae and eggs.
- Vinegar and baking soda: Combine equal parts vinegar and baking soda, pour it into pipes, and let it sit for 1 hour, followed by hot water to further clean pipes.
- Environmentally friendly
- Easy to apply
- May require multiple applications
- Works best for minor infestations
- Bio-Clean: A non-toxic, enzyme-based cleaner that removes organic buildup in pipes, thus eliminating breeding sites for drain flies.
- Drano: A strong, caustic chemical treatment for clogged pipes that can also help eliminate drain flies.
- Fast and effective
- Suitable for larger infestations
- Chemicals can be harmful to the environment and humans
- May require protective equipment during use
In cases of severe infestations or persistent problems that cannot be resolved with the aforementioned methods, calling a professional pest control service might be your best option.
- Highly effective
- Usually provides guarantees on services
- May use chemicals that are environmentally harmful
Preventing Future Infestations
Proper Drain Cleaning
To prevent drain flies from returning, it’s crucial to keep drain pipes clean. One effective, eco-friendly method is using a mixture of baking soda and soap. Remove any visible larvae and pour the solution down the drain. Follow with hot water to flush the pipes. Remember to do this regularly.
- Environmentally friendly
- Easy to use
- Requires regular application
Tackling Common Problem Areas
Aside from drains, there are other potential breeding sites for drain flies. Places with high moisture can attract them, such as:
- Sewer leaks and backups
- Dirty garbage cans
- Saucers under potted plants
- Clogged gutters
Applying appropriate cleaning, maintenance, and avoiding water buildup in these areas can help prevent infestations.
Maintaining Cleanliness in High-Moisture Areas
Regularly clean high-moisture areas or use products designed to eliminate organic build-up. One such product is the green gobbler, which breaks down organic matter and prevents breeding grounds for drain flies.
- Effective in eliminating organic build-up
- Easy to use
- May contain chemicals
- Not as eco-friendly as baking soda and soap method
In addition to chemical products, setting up glue boards near problematic areas can help trap adult drain flies, further controlling the population.
|Method||Eco-friendly||Cost-effective||Easy to use||Requires Regular Use|
|Baking Soda & Soap||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
By employing these preventative measures, you can minimize the chances of future drain fly infestations in your home.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Bathroom Fly
black flying heart-shaped bugs everywhere!
Sat, May 2, 2009 at 5:13 AM
I live in Northwest Ohio. I have had a black heart-shaped bug flying around my house for about 2 or 3 months. I can’t figure out where they are coming from. They seem to like water. They hang around in our bathrooms a lot. I have pictures of them on a recently wet towel. When you kill them, they leave a black residue almost like black dust on your wall. I have not had them bite but they will fly close to people. They also like lamps and light bulbs when it gets dark out. They are about half the size of a common house fly. Please help, I need to get rid of them!!!
You have Bathroom Flies. The larvae of the Bathroom Fly live in the sludge of your sink and tub drains. If you want to get rid of them, you need to have the pipes cleaned.
Letter 2 – Bathroom Fly
This picture isn’t very good, sorry. But we have seen these little “flies” about .75 cm long, on our walls. They don’t fly off quickly and are easy to kill. We are on the sea in Croata. Thanks for any help.
Bathroom Flies breed in the sludge that accumulates in sink drains.
Letter 3 – Bathroom Fly
I’ve got a bug for you!!
These first started appearing in our bathroom early last spring. (2005) It seems like there is always one or two in our bathroom every morning. This is before the showers start and there hasn’t been any activity in the bathroom overnight. They don’t fly fast and easy to squash. They’re about the size of a pencil eraser. It’s annoying as hell! Mater bathroom (where they’re appearing) is on the 2nd floor of a 2 story house in Omaha, Nebraska. Any help as to what they are and where they’re breading? Don’t be confused by the picture. It might look like a common housefly, but it’s not. It’s smaller and doesn’t fly as fast.
Thanks in advance.
This is a Bathroom Fly, Clogmia albipunctata. Indoors, they breed in sink traps, drains and dead flow areas in household plumbing.
Letter 4 – Bathroom Fly
tiny fly in bathroom
Hello, i can’t eradicate these tiny flies/gnats from my bathroom. I have no idea what it is nor why it and dozens of it’s brethren over the last few months desire my shower. Please help in identifying this freeloader and what steps i can make to have him/her look for lodging elsewhere. Thanks,
Your fly is actually called a Bathroom Fly, Clogmia albipunctata. The larvae live in the sludge that accumulates in sink and tub drains. Removing the sludge accumulation should help reduce the numbers of flies that are present.
Letter 5 – Bathroom Fly
Couldn’t find this little bugger at first – I should have just searched for “bathroom” because I found this little one in a public restroom at Boston Logan airport! The iridescence on the wings was really quite impressive, and it looked rather like a crude ‘silver’ under the natural lighting. Thank you for running your site – it has already helped me identify 4 odd bugs!
P.S. the “American Homebody” website being linked to in the footer of all pages appears to be gone and squatted with ads?
Bathroom Flies are found in public restrooms as well as domestic bathrooms. They breed in the sludge that accumulates in drains. We will notify Lisa Anne that the domain license to American Homebody, our parent site, has expired, but she is probably devoting more time to Steal This Sweater and the other sites she maintains as well as continuing her busy personal life. Sadly the usurper of our former home is capitalizing on all of our web traffic.
Letter 6 – Bathroom Fly
Adult case bearing moth?
Hi again, thanks to your site I have identified the case bearing larvae I have found but you do not seem to have photo’s of the moth……….is this one? He was only a few millimetres in size but very quick. In one photo he is on a fine net curtain which should give you an indication of his size. If he is and the the photo’s are of any use feel free to post them. I live in Cornwall, U.K.
This is actually a Bathroom Fly, one of the Moth Flies. They breed in sink drains.
Letter 7 – Bathroom Fly
What’s This Bug?
I live in the San Joaquin Valley in California, and these "flies" are mainly outside and in the garage, although they do not hesitate to enter the house if the opportunity arises. They seem to be sitting around more than they actually fly. When disturbed (like trying to take their picture) they fly a short distance and begin sitting again. I would appreciate your input. Thank you
This is a Bathroom Fly, so called since they are often found in bathrooms. The eggs are laid in pipes and the larval flies exist in the sludge caught in drainage pipes. A sewer in your garage would explain their presence.