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Drain flies (family Psychodidae), also known as moth flies and sewer gnats, are — I hate to say — kinda cute. They’re all little and fuzzy, and they’ve got those big ol’ Dumbo wings. What’s not to love? Well, for starters, if you’ve seen one, there’s a really good chance that a couple hundred of his close relatives are either very nearby or they will be soon. But before you freak out, make sure that what you’re looking at is actually a drain fly (see below). They are very commonly mistaken for fruit flies . Both are small, hang out in groups, and, in general, anger people and irritate pets.

First, figure out where they’re coming from. This is usually pretty easy. If you’ve ever seen a drain fly’s sad, jerky attempts at flying, you’ll know it’s not their greatest skill. With this in mind, if you see one, there’s a good chance that they’re coming from the nearest drain. To find out for sure, grab a piece of tape, lay it sticky side down covering about ¾ of the drain in question, and continue checking it for the next few days. If they are coming from that drain, there should be flies stuck to the tape.

Remove their breeding grounds. First, if you use one, remove and clean the hair catcher. Then grab a pipe brush and a plumbing snake from the hardware store and get to work. Your main goal is to get rid of all the ick that the drain flies might lay eggs in. Use the pipe brush to do what you can to clean the sides of the pipe off. Then use the snake to pull out any clumps of hair or other nastiness that you can get to. Take your time and do a good job. Also, expect to get dirty. It’s a gross job.

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