Drain Flies vs. Fruit Flies

picture of a fruit fly

Annoying Pests

Many people struggle to tell the difference between drain flies and fruit flies. Both small, flying pests seem to show up suddenly in kitchens near food, garbage cans, and drainpipes. Although they may look similar, being able to distinguish between the pests makes control efforts more effective.

Identifying Drain Flies vs. Fruit Flies

Several factors can help to determine whether there are drain flies or fruit flies in the house.


Drain flies and fruit flies both grow to about one-eighth of an inch in length, though there are some visual differences. Fruit flies are yellow or tan in color, while drain flies may be black, gray, or brown. Drain flies also have fuzzier, moth-like bodies.


While fruit flies generally stay around kitchens or other eating areas, drain flies have several options. They live and breed in standing water, which may appear in several areas around the home. Basement drains, toilet bowls, and clogged gutters are only a few of the places drain flies can thrive.

Issues with Drain Flies and Fruit Flies

Both drain flies and fruit flies are annoying and unsanitary. They spread bacteria anywhere they land, including tables and food. People who ingest these pathogens may experience stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea. Both pests also lay hundreds of eggs at once, so infestations grow quickly.

Controlling Fruit Flies

Fruit flies eat and lay eggs in damaged areas of fruit and rotting vegetables. Damp, slimy areas in sink drains or garbage disposals also provide enough organic matter to sustain fruit fly populations, so cleaning sinks and throwing away overripe produce may deter the pests.

Preventing Drain Flies

Unlike fruit flies, drain flies do not breed in rotting produce. They feed on and lay eggs in the organic film on top of pools of water, so drying up leaks or small pools near appliances can discourage drain flies. Run hot water in sinks to eliminate the algae and fungi that sustain these pests.

Fly Removal

Regardless of the type of fly infestation, Western Pest Services can provide an effective solution. Technicians can determine whether there is a drain fly vs. a fruit fly infestation and create a custom control plan.