Drain Fly Vs Fruit Fly – Comparing Features, Attraction & Health Risks

Let’s compare fruit flies and drain flies.

Flies are among the pest issues people deal with.

Now, dealing with a pest problem requires being able to tell one species from the other. This helps with comprehensive pest control.


In this article, we’ll be making comparisons between drain and fruit flies. These are fly species you’re like to have come across.

The problem with multiple pest species is that people are unable to tell apart from one from the other.

All that will be discussed here.

You’ll learn how to identify the fly species you’re dealing with and how best to go about its extermination or treatment.

Why is it Important to Identify a Fly Specie?

It’s mostly due to the type of treatment. Certain pesticides tend to work on particular pest species over others. Plus, the nature of feeding or what they’re attracted to tends to be different.

Understanding these key areas helps with the proper application of treatment.

What more? You’re able to know what attracts both fly species.

Understanding what they’re attracted to help with prevention. Basically, you’re able to apply appropriate and effective preventive measures for each fly type.

So without further delay, let’s begin our discussion.

Differentiating Between Drain & Fruit Flies

One thing that’s common with both drain and fruit flies is that they can be found in homes. Plus, they offer no clear benefits to homeowners. Instead, they’re considered a nuisance by many.

The following are key differences to tell apart drain flies from fruit flies.

i. Drain Flies

Also called gnats, sink flies, and filter flies, drain flies mostly congregate around dark and moist or damp areas.

Your drains provide such optimal conditions hence the name drain flies. Unlike fruit flies, drain flies are easily identified by the furs on their wings, antennae as well as on their heads.

In terms of coloration, drain flies will either have a light grey or tan appearance. A close look at their wings will reveal heart-shaped border lines. Drain flies won’t live exclusively in drains as they can be observed flying around.

Places with drains such as the kitchen and bathroom areas often attract drain flies the most.

One of the ways to identify them is their clumsy movement. Drain flies fly clumsily. You’ll find these landing on your walls and floors. There basically nothing attractive about them.

If anything at all, they’re mostly considered as nuisances.

So, are drain flies social insects? Are they attracted to food? Are they harmful? Do they spread diseases?

All of these questions are crucial in understanding the differences between drain and fruit flies.

  • Drain Flies are Social Insects

Drain flies can be said to be social insects.

This is seen in the context of their attraction to waste (food). This is why you’re likely to find a number of these creatures around your kitchen and coming out from your sink or drain.

Their presence mostly creates a feeling of disgust for many.

  • Food Attraction

In terms of the food they’re attracted to, drain flies mostly go for fermenting food. Lots of that are found within your drain which is why they’re attracted to such.

Drain flies will remain for as long as there’s a sufficient supply of fermented food in the drain.

With this knowledge, you can combat the problem by regularly cleaning your drain.

  • How Harmful?

Drain flies are generally harmless.

They go about their feeding activity by targeting bacteria-laden food. This is why you’ve not experienced an aggressive drain fly as they do not bite or cause other forms of harm.

However, one question that might be raised is whether they spread diseases or not.

  • Spread of Disease

For the most part, drain flies are harmless to people. This is because they do not require blood for egg development and only feed on fermenting matter.

However, one remote similarity to the spread of disease is the allergy drain flies are likely to cause sensitive persons due to the transfer of bacteria.

ii. Fruit Flies

Having discussed the different aspects of drain flies such as their appearance, what they feed on, their social configurations among other things, it’s necessary to discuss fruit flies.

How do these compare or differ from fruit drain flies?

Fruit flies tend to be the most common flying insects to find around homes and especially the kitchen area. As the name implies, fruit flies are attracted to overripe and fermenting fruits.

In appearance or color, fruit flies can be categorized in two; those with dark eyes as well as those with red eyes.

The red-eyed fruit flies also have a striped abdomen.

Other than these physical features, red and dark-eyed fruit flies appear the same. Unlike drain flies that have furs on their head and wings, fruit flies do not.

So, what are the other key differences between these flies and drain flies?

We’ll need to consider their social construct, food attraction, whether their harmful or not, as well as their potential to spread diseases.

  • Are Fruit Flies Social?

Unlike drain flies, fruit flies rarely travel together. However, the only time you’d find many of these flies is when there are lots of fermenting or overripe fruits left out in the open.

Outside of that, they do not stick together like drain flies.

  • Food Attraction

We’ve mentioned severally that fruit flies are attracted to fruits.

The most attraction comes from overripe or decaying fruits. This choice of meal is quite different when compared with those eaten by drain flies.

  • Are Fruit Flies Harmful?

Fruit flies are mostly harmless. While this is true, their presence is a clear indication of unsanitary conditions around your home.

To limit their presence, you’ll need to clear out all food sources and keep your home and kitchen area clean.

  • Do they Spread Diseases?

With fruit flies around your home, the potential for the spread of germs is higher. Fruit flies easily spread germs from contaminated surfaces to clean ones. Such germs include listeria, salmonella, and E. coli among others.

For better control, you’ll need to have fruit flies repelled or exterminated.

These are the key differences between drain flies and fruit flies. We’ve considered different aspects of their behavior including feeding and their potential to spread diseases.

You should have a better grasp of how best to control these flies.

Leave a Comment