Get Rid of Drain Flies: Make Your Foodservice Operation a “No Fly Zone”
There’s nothing cute about the tiny flies often found in foodservice operations. Restaurants, commercial kitchens, and food processing plants struggle mightily to get rid of drain flies.
Whether they show up near drains, drip pans, garbage areas, or make their way to the front of the house, small flies can mean big problems for the reputation of your business. At best, they are a nuisance and can give customers the feeling that your establishment is dirty. At worst, they can potentially transfer pathogens from the unsanitary places they frequent. Fortunately, when the right maintenance procedures are followed, you can confidently control drain flies and turn your restaurant into an effective “no fly zone.”
Foodservice and food processing environments provide the perfect setting for drain flies to thrive. The availability of moist, warm conditions along with a ready food supply of organic waste material meets the requirements these insects need to live and breed. Specifically, the grease and organic matter that builds up on the walls of unmaintained drain pipes creates an ideal place for drain flies to lay their eggs. Cracks and cervices in floors or even broken food containers can also serve as breeding grounds if wet enough.
Some foodservice operations try to solve the drain fly problem by applying insecticides. This may treat exposed surfaces but is ineffective at reaching drain traps and covered areas where flies actually live. Pouring bleach down drains also does little good, as it doesn’t eliminate the organic matter that they like to feed on. While these winged insects can be quite annoying, the more important issue in foodservice environments is their ability to transport unsanitary pathogens to food and food prep surfaces, increasing the risk of foodborne illness.
Following are our suggestions to get rid of drain flies in all areas of your foodservice and food processing operation:
Drains – Use a heavy-duty brush to scour pipes above the water trap. Regularly maintain drains with a bio-enzymatic cleaner – one that is bacteria and enzyme-based – to eliminate the grease and slime that small drain flies feed on and lay eggs in. Bactizyme is just such a cleaner that safely breaks down organic matter, eliminating flies and keeping pipes running smoothly. Learn more about how enzymatic cleaners work here. An alternate solution to control small flies in drains would be to use a disinfectant solution like Uno.
Floors – Eliminate areas where water may pool, paying particular attention to drains, corners, cracks and crevices. Use a squeegee or wet/dry vacuum to remove pooled water on floors. Reference this article on foodservice floor safety to learn how to keep your kitchen floors sanitary and safe.
Work areas and equipment – Keep counters, appliances and fixtures free of food, and clean up spills immediately. Inspect wheel castors, table supports, and other hard to clean areas regularly for food debris. Table Time 200® is a convenient RTU cleaner and food service sanitizer that you can easily grab and spray on prep counters, equipment, tables and all areas of the kitchen at any time. It cleans and eliminates 99.999% of bacteria.
Cleaning tools – Damp mops and towels left to ferment can quickly become a breeding place in your foodservice area. Dry out wet tools and if possible keep them covered in a bin. Never leave a wet mop propped against a wall. Instead, store with strands hanging down in a dry, well-circulated area.
Garbage disposals – Run disposals for an extra 30 seconds after waste has passed through, running water down the drain at the same time.
Garbage cans – Always keep trash containers covered, using self-closing lids whenever possible. Empty receptacles frequently and keep the areas around them free of debris and rotting food, especially vegetables and fruits. Rinse containers regularly with hot water to eliminate bits of food or juice, then clean and disinfect.
Windows and doors – Don’t allow windows or doors to be propped open. Repair torn screens and replace missing caulk, weather stripping and joint mortar around the building that could provide an easy entryway for pests.
Outside – Keep exterior garbage cans at least 25 feet from entrances. Use a mechanical spray device with a disinfectant solution like Nyco Uno to clean, disinfect and deodorize exterior trash receptacles Don’t stack, store, or plant anything next to building openings.
Drain flies may be small, but they can become a huge problem for your foodservice establishment if not under control. By practicing a few simple maintenance procedures each day you can make your kitchen area uninviting to these pests while keeping your operation safely humming along.