How Long Does a Fly Live? Discover the Lifespan of a Common Housefly


Flies are one of the most common and pervasive insects in the world. They are often seen as pests due to their annoying buzzing sound and the fact that they can carry diseases. However, have you ever wondered how long a fly actually lives? The lifespan of a fly is something that many people do not know much about, but it is an important aspect to consider when trying to control or prevent a fly infestation. In this post, we will explore the different stages of a fly’s life cycle and factors that affect its lifespan. We will also provide tips on how to control and prevent a fly infestation. So, let’s dive into the world of flies and learn more about their fascinating lifespan.

The Basics of a Fly’s Lifespan

Egg Stage

During the egg stage, a female fly lays eggs on suitable breeding grounds, such as decaying organic matter or animal waste. Depending on the species and environmental conditions, a female fly can lay hundreds of eggs over several batches throughout her lifespan.

The incubation period for fly eggs varies depending on temperature, humidity, and other factors. Generally, it takes around 24 hours for an egg to hatch into a larvae or maggot. However, in cooler temperatures, the incubation period can take up to three days.

Interestingly, female flies can sometimes manipulate the incubation period by delaying the hatching of their eggs until they find a suitable breeding site. They do this by retaining the eggs inside their body for a short period before laying them.

In addition, certain species of flies have adapted to survive colder temperatures by laying their eggs in late summer or fall. These eggs enter diapause, a state of dormancy that allows them to survive the winter and hatch in spring.

Understanding the egg stage of a fly’s life cycle is crucial for controlling and preventing fly infestations. By eliminating potential breeding sites and practicing proper sanitation measures, you can prevent female flies from laying their eggs and breaking the life cycle.

Larvae Stage

During the Larvae Stage of a fly’s life cycle, maggots emerge from the eggs laid by adult flies. These small, worm-like creatures are pale white and can range in size from 1-12 mm. Maggots have a distinct feeding habit, which is to consume decaying organic matter.

As scavengers, maggots play an important role in natural decomposition processes. They help break down organic waste and convert it into nutrients that can be used by plants. However, this feeding habit also makes them a common problem in household and agricultural settings where they can infest food, garbage, and animal carcasses.

Maggot feeding habits are unique in that they do not have a mouth or teeth to chew their food. Instead, they secrete enzymes that dissolve the surrounding material, allowing them to absorb the nutrients through their skin. This process is known as external digestion and is highly efficient, allowing maggots to consume a large amount of food in a short period.

The feeding behavior of maggots has been studied extensively for its potential benefits. For example, maggot therapy has been used to treat slow-healing wounds by introducing live maggots to clean and debride the affected area. The larvae feed on dead tissue and bacteria, promoting healing and preventing infection.

Overall, the Larvae Stage of a fly’s life cycle plays a vital role in the ecosystem and can have practical applications. Understanding the feeding habits of maggots can provide insight into their behavior and how to control their presence in unwanted areas.

Pupa Stage

During the pupa stage of a fly’s life cycle, the larvae transforms into an adult fly inside a cocoon. This is a crucial stage in the development of a fly as it undergoes a complete metamorphosis, transforming from a soft-bodied maggot to a fully formed and functional adult.

Inside the cocoon, the pupa goes through a remarkable transformation process known as histolysis. During this process, the larval tissues break down into individual cells and then reorganize into the organs and tissues required for the adult fly. The pupa stage can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Interestingly, the color of the pupa can provide insight into the sex of the adult fly. Female pupae tend to be darker in color due to the developing ovaries, while male pupae are lighter in color with visible genitalia.

The pupa stage is critical for the survival and reproduction of flies. It serves as a protective shield from external factors like predators and adverse weather conditions while allowing for the necessary morphological changes that will enable the adult fly to mate and reproduce.

Insecticides and other pest control methods often target the pupa stage to prevent young flies from emerging and continuing the infestation. However, sanitation practices such as proper waste disposal and cleaning can also help prevent flies from laying eggs and starting the life cycle anew.

Overall, the pupa stage plays a significant role in the development of a fly and its impact on our environment. Understanding this stage can aid in controlling and preventing fly infestations, leading to a healthier and more hygienic environment.


The emergence stage marks the final step of a fly’s life cycle, where it transforms from a pupa into an adult fly. This is a critical time for the fly as it undergoes significant changes to prepare itself for reproduction and survival.

After spending several days in the pupa stage, the adult fly emerges with underdeveloped wings and a soft exoskeleton. Over the course of the next few hours, the fly pumps hemolymph (the insect equivalent of blood) into its wings, causing them to expand and harden. Once its wings are fully developed, the fly is ready to take flight and begin its search for food and mates.

Reproduction is a crucial aspect of a fly’s life, and it typically takes place just days after emerging from the pupa. Female flies are capable of laying hundreds of eggs during their short lifespan, which can lead to massive infestations if left unchecked. Males, on the other hand, are primarily focused on finding a mate and will often compete with each other for the opportunity to mate with a female.

Interestingly, the lifespan of an adult fly is relatively short, ranging from just a few days to a few weeks depending on various factors such as temperature and humidity. During this time, the fly’s sole purpose is to reproduce and ensure the continuation of its species.

In summary, the emergence stage marks a significant milestone in the life of a fly, as it transforms from a pupa into an adult capable of reproduction. While the lifespan of an adult fly may be short, it plays a critical role in ensuring the success of its species through reproduction.

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of a Fly

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of a Fly

A fly’s lifespan can range from just a few days to several weeks, depending on various factors. Here are some of the most significant factors that can affect the length of a fly’s life:

Temperature: Flies are cold-blooded insects, which means their body temperature is determined by their surrounding environment. Higher temperatures can speed up a fly’s metabolism, causing them to age and die more quickly. On the other hand, colder temperatures can slow down their metabolism and prolong their lifespan. For example, a housefly kept in a room at 32°F (0°C) can survive for up to two months.

Humidity: Flies require moisture to survive, so humidity levels can also impact their lifespan. Too much or too little humidity can be harmful to their health. High humidity can promote the growth of mold and bacteria that can cause disease, while low humidity can dry out their bodies and lead to dehydration. The optimal humidity range for flies is between 60% to 80%.

Food supply: The availability and quality of food can greatly affect a fly’s lifespan. Flies are attracted to decaying organic matter such as garbage, feces, and dead animals, which provide them with the nutrients they need to survive. Without access to a reliable food source, flies may die of starvation or become weaker and more susceptible to predators.

Predators: Flies have many natural predators, including spiders, birds, bats, and other insects. These predators can significantly reduce the number of flies in an area and shorten their lifespan. For example, a spider can catch and consume dozens of flies in a single day.

In conclusion, several factors can influence the lifespan of a fly, including temperature, humidity, food supply, and predators. By understanding these factors, you can take steps to control and prevent fly infestations in your home or workplace.

How to Control and Prevent a Fly Infestation

A fly infestation can be both annoying and unhygienic. Flies can carry bacteria and diseases, which is why it’s important to take measures to control and prevent a fly infestation. Here are some effective ways to do so:

Fly Swatter

One of the most traditional ways to control flies is by using a fly swatter. This simple tool is inexpensive, easy to use, and can be quite effective at killing individual flies. However, it can be time-consuming, especially if you have a large infestation.


Insecticides are chemical compounds designed to kill insects. There are various types of insecticides available in the market, such as sprays, baits, foggers, and traps. They can be effective in controlling fly populations, but they should be used with care as they can also harm beneficial insects and pose a risk to human health.


Sanitation is an essential aspect of preventing a fly infestation. Flies are attracted to food sources and waste materials, so keeping your surroundings clean and free from debris can help eliminate their breeding grounds. Regularly dispose of garbage, seal food containers tightly, and clean up spills or crumbs immediately. Make sure to clean areas that are often overlooked, such as drains or compost bins, where flies can lay their eggs.


Screening is another recommended way to prevent flies from entering your home or business premises. Install screens on doors and windows to keep flies out while allowing fresh air to circulate. You can also use fine mesh screens for outdoor areas, such as patios or porches, to create a barrier between you and the flies.

In conclusion, controlling and preventing a fly infestation requires a combination of methods, including fly swatters, insecticides, sanitation, and screening. By implementing these strategies, you can minimize the presence of flies and reduce the risks associated with them.
Flies may be a common household pest, but the intricacies of their life cycle and lifespan are often overlooked. Knowing how long a fly lives and what factors affect its lifespan can help us better understand and control infestations. From the egg stage to emergence as an adult fly, each phase is vital to the lifecycle of these insects. Temperature, humidity, food supply, and predators all play a role in determining how long flies live. By taking simple steps such as proper sanitation, screening windows and doors, and using insecticides or fly swatters when necessary, we can reduce the chances of infestations. Understanding the lifespan of a fly increases our awareness and appreciation for the diverse range of creatures that inhabit our world.

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