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What's the Life Cycle of a Fly?

A common fly

A common fly

Homeowners across the United States are familiar with pest flies. Two species seem to spend the most time buzzing around people and their homes: the house fly and the fruit fly. While the life expectancy of a fly is short, their ability to reproduce quickly makes them difficult to control.

Life Cycle of a Fly

Flies have four stages of development. Females typically lay eggs directly on a food source. Once they hatch, larvae start feeding. They transform into pupae and then into fully grown adults. It takes house fly or fruit fly eggs anywhere between a day and a week to hatch into the larval stage.

House Fly vs. Fruit Fly Lifespan

The life expectancy of a fly has some bearing on how much damage the pest can do. Their rate of reproduction also marks the severity of an infestation.

How long do house flies live?An average house fly lives about a month. In that time, females can lay five to six batches of eggs. Although they’re more active in the summer, house flies reproduce year-round.

How long do fruit flies live?The lifespan of a fly can also depend on the species. For example, fruit flies live a little longer than house flies. These insects die after about 40 to 50 days. Like house flies, they can yield several generations during this time. Just one female fruit fly can produce up to 500 offspring.


In addition to overwhelming homeowners with numbers, house flies spread disease and fruit flies spoil food. Instead of wondering how long flies live and hoping the problem goes away, residents can act to prevent and limit issues. Repairing window screens so flies don’t get inside, cleaning trash and garbage containers and regularly cleaning sink drains helps with exclusion.

However, established infestations may require special treatments. Since handling pesticides can be dangerous, call on the trained Pros at Orkin to deal with fly problems.


Dig Deeper on House Flies

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House Flies and Disease

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