How Long Do Flies Live: Life Cycle of Buzzing Insects

The lifespan of a fly is an interesting subject of scientific research. However, if you wonder, “How long do flies live?,”most likely, they attacked your house. The good news is that flying pests do not live long. The bad news is they reproduce quickly.

Thus, it is not worth waiting until the fly dies because it will have time to reproduce several thousand descendants in its short life. The air temperature in the room and access to water and food, which insects need to survive, greatly influence the lifespan and rate of passage of all developing cycles.

Life Stages of a Fly
  1. The fly lays up to 150 eggs, which turn into larvae within a day.
  2. The larvae grow during 4-7 days.
  3. The pupa turns into an adult in 3-7 days.
  4. The female can lay eggs in 2-3 days.
  5. The entire life cycle of a fly takes an average of a month.

How Long Do Flies Live?

The fact that flies live only 24 hours is wrong. In such a short period, they simply would not have had time to go through all 4 stages of their development. What fly lives 24 hours? This is a creature that has little in common with an ordinary fly.

fly on a green flower

Mayflies are aquatic insects that are an important part of the freshwater ecosystem. The nymph lives in the water for about a year. When it develops into an adult (imago), it lives for only 24 hours. During this period, mayflies lay eggs and die after procreation.

  • The mayfly’s life cycle differs from the most common types of flying insects, such as houseflies and fruit flies.
  • The average life of a housefly is 25 days. Males usually live less than 15 days.
  • Fruit flies (also known as vinegar flies or wine flies) live an average of 21 days.
  • If insects have unlimited access to water and food, your home is warm enough, their lifespan can increase up to 40-50 days.

Fly infestation is a real problem in hot climates. Insects reproduce rapidly. As you know, they are carriers of many diseases dangerous to humans, so it is significant to start getting rid of flies even if you notice only a few individuals in your room.

4 Stages of Fly Development

Regardless of species, flies go through the same cycles throughout their lives. At warm air temperatures, the time required to create a new generation is reduced. At lower air temperatures, flies hibernate or go through all the stages longer.

  • Egg laying. After mating, the female lays eggs, choosing dark, damp places. Often they choose rotting wood and places with a lot of decaying food or other organic materials. Fly eggs are like small grains of rice. For one batch, the female can lay up to 150 eggs. After 8-24 hours, the eggs hatch into larvae.
  • Larvae. They are white or translucent and look like legless caterpillars. The larvae cannot move, so the fly lays its eggs where its offspring will have access to a food source. This stage lasts 4-7 days. The larva feeds and molts several times.
  • At the pupal stage, the larva is in a hard capsule that looks like a barrel. Inside this capsule, it transforms into an adult fly, developing legs and wings. For a complete metamorphosis, the pupa takes from 3 to 7 days.
  • When the capsule cracks, an adult fly emerges from it. After 2-3 days, it is ready to mate. During its short life, the female can make 5-6 batches of eggs. In warm climates, these flying insects reproduce much more actively.

It is the average life cycle of a housefly. The fruit fly goes through the same stages. However, it takes much less time, about 2-3 days for each stage. For laying eggs, the vinegar fly usually prefers rotting fruits.

FAQ on Lifespan of Flies

fly on the stem

Many factors influence the lifespan of flies. If an insect does not die from a fly swatter, it lives through standard cycles in the time allotted by nature.

How long do fruit flies live?

On average, these insects live about 21 days. But if there are optimal conditions for existence in your house, the life cycle of fruit flies can reach 40-50 days.

How long do flies live indoors?

Flies live much longer indoors than in the wild. The average lifespan from the larval stage to death is one month. Warm indoor air and abundant organic materials for food prolong their life.

Where do flies live?

In your home, flies can be seen on walls, ceilings, near windows, doors, garbage cans, and the dining table. Insects are also attracted to your pet’s food and toilet. They lay their eggs in dark and damp places.

Has Nature Given the Flies Enough Time?

The lifespan of a fly is short by human standards. However, insects have time to leave numerous offspring before they die. As a result, your home becomes a place where hundreds of individuals live. They spoil food and carry viruses and bacteria on their feet. Knowing how fast they reproduce, you need to start taking steps to get rid of the flies. Remove all food and debris, seal cracks in windows and doors. If the infestation is too severe, you will need professional help.

Did you believe in the stereotype that flies only live for 24 hours? Share your opinion in the comments!

Also read:


  • Origins of the Flyswatter (Johns Hopkins University Press)
  • Mayfly Revisited (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
  • Fruit Flies Evolve in Time with the Seasons: Study (Natalia Mesa)


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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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