Fly Lifespan: How Long Do Flies Live For?

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How long do flies live for is a common thought about the question, especially when you find a lot of flies buzzing around you in your house. There is so much that needs to be discovered about a fly when dealing with an infestation; the content in this guide covers it all.

Which flies do I have?

There are certain common flies that enter our house and become a nuisance for us. A few of these flies are –

House flies

How long do flies live?

House flies are typically the most common type of fly that infests our home. They are attracted to all kinds of organic matter, including garbage, food, and feces.

Female house flies lay eggs inside organic matter whenever possible. These flies make a distinctive buzzing noise when flying.

Fruit flies

Fruit flies are amongst the most common types of flies that can be found all over the world. They are about ⅛” long and tan in color.

They lay their eggs in selective, moist areas where food or beverages are fermenting.

Some common places to find fruit flies include kitchens, garbage disposals, open bottles and cans, and around mops and cleaning rags.

Cluster flies

These flies are a species of fly that is closely related to the common housefly. They are slightly larger than houseflies and have dull-grey coloring with clear black marks.

They also have yellow-colored hairs on their thorax, which gives them a golden sheen. Cluster flies typically bury their eggs in the soil so that the fly larva can feed on earthworms.

Phorid flies

Phorid flies are a type of fly that is common in the United States. They are translucent tan in color and smaller than fruit flies. They travel by scuttling along surfaces and are commonly found around plumbing leaks.

How long do flies live?

There are at least thousands of different types of flies, but the most common ones are the house fly, fruit fly, and horse fly.

Flies can be found across the world and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While their lifespan varies depending on the species, most flies only live for a few weeks.

In addition, there are a few other flying insects that you may not have known are in the Diptera order. These include the gnat and mosquito.


fly linnaeus adult egg best

Houseflies are a common type of fly that can be found all over the world. If you wonder how long do house flies live then here is the answer. The life span of a fly ranges around 28 to 30 days.

They reside in our homes and can be annoying, hovering around our heads and attempting to land on food, but they are not dangerous. They are capable of transmitting diseases by dispersing infected bacteria.

For example, if they land on a mound of decomposing garbage, pick up germs on their feet, and then land on your food, you could be exposed to the same thing, which could further make you sick if consumed in large quantities.

In general, houseflies undergo four life cycles: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The female and hatch lay the housefly egg into larvae that eat organic matter.

The larvae develop into pupae before becoming adults. Adults are attracted to the smell of human skin and will feed on sweat or tears; they can also spread diseases.

Interestingly, houseflies undergo a process called complete metamorphosis. This means that they hatch from eggs and go through the previously mentioned three stages: larva, pupae, and adult.

During the larval stage, the fly will eat almost anything it can find. The pupal stage is when the fly will transform into an adult. Once the fly becomes an adult, it will live for about 28-30 days before laying eggs to produce more flies.

The fly life cycle is fascinating as it can be seen in different environments all over the world. Female flies lay 5-6 batches of eggs in their lifetime, and the eggs hatch into larvae that feed on organic matter.

Flies are attracted to food, so they can cause damage to property and the health in humans and pets.

Horse fly

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Horse flies are a species of fly that is common in North America. The horse fly life span is about 35 to 55 days.

These flies can grow to be the size of a bumblebee, and they get their name from their frequent sightings around stables and bothering horses in the fields. They are bloodsuckers and use the protein from the blood to make their fertilized eggs.

Horseflies will bite humans as well, although the bites are not harmful. However, the bite of a horsefly can be dangerous to horses because it carries “equine infectious anemia.”

Fruit fly

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Fruit flies are small insects that can be found in the fruit dish on your counter. They have a life expectancy of 42 to 52 days.

These little flies breed swiftly! Their lifecycle includes the egg, larvae, pupae, and adult stages, although each stage lasts only a few days, and they can progress from egg to adult in as little as a week.

Tsetse fly

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Tsetse flies have a lifespan of 14-21 days (males) and 1-4 months (females). The average lifespan of a tsetse fly is around 21 days, but the male tsetse fly has a shorter lifespan of around 14 days.

The tsetse fly is a type of fly that is found in Africa. The female tsetse fly has a uterus in which the larvae are carried.

The larvae grow within the female for around nine days before being born and burrowing into the ground to complete the pupae stage. It will take three weeks to a month in the pupae stage before the adult emerges.


gnats housefly

Gnats are not just baby flies. In fact, they are a separate and distinct group of flies altogether. They have one of the shortest lifespans of all fly species, with some only living for a week.

Gnats can be found both indoors and outdoors. They are attracted to moisture and can often be found near plants or in areas where there is standing water.

The most prevalent type of gnat is the fungus gnat, which, like maggots, can harm indoor plants by eating their roots.

They feed on the fungus that grows when these plants are overwatered, as the name implies. Gnats have a life cycle that is similar to that of the fruit fly, ranging anywhere from a week to two weeks.


mosquitoes fly

Mosquitoes are a type of fly that is known for its itchy bite. They are similar to houseflies in their life cycle, but the eggs must be laid in stagnant water in order to hatch.

Mosquitos tend to have an average life span of 10 to 14 days, which is highly dependent on the temperature. Adult mosquitos live longer in cooler temperatures and shorter in warmer temperatures.

Mosquitos are a type of fly that undergoes complete metamorphosis. The larvae are aquatic and live in the water until it reaches the pupae stage, at which stage it emerges from the water as adult mosquito.

The Life Cycle of a Fly

Flies go through four phases of development. Females often lay their eggs on a food source. Larvae begin feeding as soon as they hatch.

They develop into pupae and eventually fully mature adults. It might take anywhere from a couple of days to a week for house fly or fruit fly eggs to hatch into larvae.

Factors Affecting House Fly Lifespan

There are various factors that directly contribute to the elongated life of a fly. A few of these factors are –


House flies are found across the world, and they thrive in areas where the temperature is warm and the air is humid.

So, how long fly lives? An average fly lives for around 15-30 days. However, this can vary depending on the environment they live in.

Their development times shorten, and their average lifespan decreases as the climate become warmer.

Quicker life cycles account for greater populations over time, while cooler continental, subarctic, and polar/alpine climates predominantly greatly elongate overall fly lifespan, primarily due to slower metabolic rates, especially during colder seasons.


Houseflies that are able to eat freely live ten days longer than flies that have just adequate access to food.

This is because the flies that have a restricted diet are not able to get the appropriate nutrients they need in order to survive.

Houseflies are attracted to food and often live close by. However, a recent study found that the lifespan of houseflies may be shortened when they are near food.

This is because the flies are constantly bombarded with bacterial toxins, which can shorten their lifespan.


House flies are most active during the warmer summer months. They can be found near food, garbage, and other organic matter.

The temperature of its environment greatly influences the lifespan of a fly. Warmer temperatures promote more widespread access to food sources, which accelerates fly metabolic rates and reduces life expectancy. In colder temperatures, flies will generally live longer.

The lifespan of a fly, on average, is around 8-10 days. However, this can vary depending on the climate and environment they are living in. Canadian climates generally promote longer fly life due to consistently cooler temperatures which feature less access to food sources.


Flies can live for up to a year, depending on the type of fly. There are many different types of fly, and each has its own lifespan. Some flies only live for a couple of days, while others can last up to a year. If you are unable to eliminate flies, it may be best to call in a professional.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.