The Difference Between Fruit Flies and Drain Flies

People often get fruit flies and drain flies confused with one another because the two flies are typically always found in the kitchen. Fruit flies can emerge from the drain if there is rotting or decaying fruit within the drain that they are feeding on, but that doesn’t mean they are drain flies.

Difference Between Fruit Flies and Drain Flies

The difference between fruit flies and drain flies is very distinct when you look at the two.

Fruit flies are often called gnats because of their size. They are much smaller than drain flies and can have a reddish tint to their body and eye color.

Drain flies are slightly bigger than fruit flies and their wings are shaped like a moth. Because of this, drain flies are often called moth flies. The only difference is that drain flies are significantly smaller than actual moths.

Is a Drain Fly a Fruit Fly?

No. A drain fly is not a fruit fly. The two flies have two completely different scientific names. The scientific name for a fruit fly is Drosophila melanogaster. It is under the higher classification Sophophora. The scientific name for a drain fly is Psychodidae. It is under the higher classification Psychodoidea.

Drain flies

The two share the same common order of flies in the scientific taxonomy, but from there, the two flies fall under different classifications.

Although drain flies and fruit flies are different classifications of flies, they share very common traits. They both feed on dead or decaying food. The main difference between a fruit fly and a drain fly is that fruit flies almost always feed on rotting fruit and they aren’t afraid to come out during the day.

Drain flies are slightly different. They like to stay in cool, damp, and dark places and will come out at night. If they do come out at night, they typically fly to a wall and stick to it, whereas fruit flies will often just swarm around the decaying food they are feeding on.

Keep in mind that fruit flies will often emerge from the drain because they are feeding on the decaying fruit that is in the drain; however, this does not make them drain flies. They are still fruit flies.

How Do I Know if I Have Drain Flies?

Drain flies

The best way to tell if you have drain flies is to look at the body of the fly to determine what it looks like. Drain flies have a distinct shape with “fur” and will always emerge from the drain. They enjoy spending time in cool, dark places which is why they are given the name drain flies.

Drain flies are typically not seen swarming during the day. You will likely notice them stuck to the side of your wall or cabinets near your sink the next morning. Sometimes drain flies emerge from the drain inadvertently so they will attach to a wall.

If you have noticed flies coming from your drain and sticking to the walls or cabinets near your sink, then you have drain flies.

What Attracts Flies in Your House?

Flies feed on organic decaying material. It can be rotting food, old fruit, or food scraps that haven’t been disposed of. They are also attracted to cat litter boxes that are not properly maintained.

Flies can sense the decaying material and they are attracted to it. Not only will flies feed on the decaying material, but they will also lay their eggs on them.

Drain flies that feed on decay in your sink will also lay their eggs on the decay. All of this happens under the surface within the drainpipes of your sink and you don’t realize it’s happening until baby drain flies start to emerge.

It’s not just drain flies that lay their eggs on the decay in your house. Fruit flies and fungus gnats will also lay their eggs on decay the same way that drain flies do. This is why it is so important to make sure you get rid of any organic decaying material within your home as soon as possible because a fly invasion can happen quicker than you realize.

How Do You Get Rid of Fruit Flies and Drain Flies?

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll tell you how to get rid of drain flies and how to prevent fruit flies from invading your house.

Step One: Rinse Your Drain

First, you will need to begin by cleaning your drain with warm water and a plumbing snake. This will remove any debris that is stuck to the side of the drain and pipes.

Step Two: Clean Your Drain

Add a drain cleaner to your drain following the instructions on the drain cleaner. Leave the cleaner in the drain for an extended period. Typically, most drain cleaners allow you to leave the cleaner in the drain for 4 to 6 hours.

Step Three: Rinse Your Drain

Once a few hours have passed, you will need to rinse the drain and flush the pipes so that all of the drain cleaner is rinsed out.

Other Tips for Getting Rid of Drain Flies and Fruit Flies

Once you have cleaned your drain, you will need to kill any adult flies you see outside of the drain. You can also hang fly traps above your sink to capture any flies that are swarming.

Flies are looking for a food source so make sure that you have thoroughly cleaned your kitchen and gotten rid of any decaying material that they could feed on or lay their eggs. The hanging fly trap will help you trap any adult fly that is looking for a food source to feed on.


While fruit flies and drain flies are two very different types of flies, they both bring the same amount of nuisance to your home. They can swarm in your kitchen, especially when there is an active food source for them to feed on. Make sure you always clean up any scraps and throw out any fruits or vegetables that have gone bad so that you don’t allow these pests an opportunity to invade your home.

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