Recently here at Whywait Plumbing, we have had several calls from clients who are concerned they are about to be overrun by small drain flies in their bathroom. Generally, the concern is that they are in large numbers, and no matter what is done to kill them they continue to multiply as there is always more the next day.
Cleaning Your Drains Doesn’t Get Rid Of Drain Flies!
Many clients had cleaned the bathroom until it could be cleaned no more. So by process of elimination, they had decided that they were coming out of one of the drains in the bathroom. Frustratingly no matter how often some clients sat and observed the drains they never saw any of the drain flies emerging from the drain in the shower or basin or the floor waste. Many clients describe them as lazy flies as they just accumulate on the bathroom walls and seldom fly.
What most people observed was the drain flies flying were mainly sitting on the walls or ceiling in the bathroom. We can confirm that what everyone was experiencing is what is commonly known as drain flies or bathroom flies emerging from the floor waste drain where they breed.
What Do Drain Flies Look Like
Drain flies are dark grey flies and are 2mm – 4mm in length with hairy moth-like wings. They have a jerky flight as they are weak fliers and usually are found close to the floor waste drain or other areas of origin such as shower or bath wastes. This is why they seldom stray outside the bathroom. In most cases, they are breeding in the bathroom floor waste trap.
Drain flies do not bite and are not known to transmit disease of any sort. They do not damage clothes or linen and are considered to be more of unsightly nuisance value in your home.
The adult drain flies and larvae can be controlled by eliminating or reducing breeding sites. If the infestation is minor, the pouring of bleach into the floor trap will usually work in killing them. However, if that does not solve the problem, then you will need to kill them by thoroughly cleaning the drain lines and or sealing of the floor trap.
The reason that they continually seem to be in large numbers despite always killing them is that eggs hatch in 32 to 48 hours when the temperature is above 20 degrees. The larvae mature in 9 to12 days and feed on the decaying organic matter that accumulates in the floor waste trap. The life cycle of drain flies is 1-3 weeks. Adults drain flies live about two weeks, with old ones dying and new ones emerging. They feed on the wastewater in the floor waste trap. During the day the adults rest in shaded areas such as under the basin or on walls near plumbing fixtures and the sides of showers and baths. Most activity occurs during the evening when the flies are seen hovering about.
Septic Tanks Breeders
If you are on acreage and have septic tanks or treatment plant, they may breed in large numbers in and around the tanks. Drain flies then may be carried by prevailing wind to nearby homes up to 3 kilometres away. Adult drain flies are small enough to pass through ordinary window insect mesh screens.
Thorough Cleaning of Drain and Traps
It is the experience of Whywait Plumbing that cleaning of the drains from the basin, shower and bath that discharge into the floor trap is only part of the answer. It is also beneficial to clean the floor waste trap and grate thoroughly. We recommend cleaning the whole area with No-Rinse Floor Cleaner, Sanitiser & Disinfectant, which will clean and disinfect the floor and drain. We don’t recommend the need to continually pour chemical such as bleach down the drain as it is washed away as soon as you use any water in the basin or shower fixtures.
Drain PRO™ – The Drain Fly Solution
In 2010 Gary and Michele Mays the owners of Whywait Plumbing Services went through this entire experience of drain flies invading their ensuite bathroom. Gary Mays installed a Drain PRO™ unit into the floor waste which prevents not only drain flies but also bacteria, odours and insects from exiting through the drain into the bathroom.
It is three years since the installation of the Drain PRO™ units in all of all bathroom floor traps in their home, and they have eliminated the reoccurrence of the annoying tiny lazy drain flies.
If you are experiencing the annoyance of drain flies that will not go away give us a call at Whywait Plumbing on (07) 5580 4311 to book a service call so we can eliminate them once and for all.