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How Long Do Flies Live on Average?

How Long Do Flies Live on Average?

Are you wondering how long do flies live? If yes, you should check out our guide here on the important things to understand.
  Flies are almost as natural and commonplace as breathing. Mammals all across the globe have specially-adapted physical features to help themselves get rid of pesky flies, including tails and manes. Fortunately, humans have pesticides, pest control professionals, and plenty of information to help in the long battle against flies. If you’ve found yourself wondering, “How long do flies live?”, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s explore the average lifespan of a fly, as well as the life cycle of these airborne insects. Familiarizing yourself with these facts may help you tackle any fly infestations you’re facing in your Jackson, MS home and help avoid future fly-related problems.

How Long Do Flies Live?

You may have heard that the common housefly only lives for 24 hours. While this would be amazing if it were true, sadly, it is pure fiction. While most flies do enjoy relatively short lifespans, they don’t transition from egg to adult overnight. A typical housefly enjoys two to four weeks of adulthood after two weeks of growth. Consequently, the average fly lives for about 28 days. Of course, the exact time varies from fly to fly and species to species. For example, gnats are a common type of fly, but they differ greatly from houseflies or blowflies. Rather than getting a whole month of life, gnats typically kick the bucket after a week of existence. That’s why we’re going to take a quick look at the most common types of flies found in North America.

Common Types of Flies

Before you can exterminate your fly infestation, you must first determine what type of flies you’re dealing with. There are several species of insects that can be considered flies, but they differ in several ways. Still, it’s unlikely that most homeowners will encounter rarer species. In most cases, when someone is dealing with a fly issue, they’re handling a common housefly swarm or infestation. It’s also crucial to note that some flies are more capable of spreading disease than others. Houseflies and blowflies can spread viral and bacterial diseases, making them known contagion carriers. Gnats, however, are comparatively harmless.


The common housefly is typically black or grey. Their physical appearance is often confused with that of the blowfly, but houseflies are often far fatter than their darker counterparts. Their bodies are also slightly larger and more compact. These flies are opportunistic and can survive on an astounding range of substances. An unflushed bowel movement can attract them, as can rotting fruit or meat. Some houseflies may even take a liking to your pet’s kibble. Due to their extreme adaptability, houseflies are often the most common fly found inside of homes and inhabited properties. They can be easy to attract and difficult to get rid of, especially if homeowners don’t maintain excellent in-home hygiene.


Blowflies can be easy to spot thanks to their iridescent sheen and proclivity for decaying animals. If you’ve ever spotted flies hovering around a dead animal or rotting hunk of vegetation, they were likely blowflies. Also known as bluebottle flies, these nearly-black insects are particularly dangerous to humans. Because they consume rotting flesh and decaying matter, they can spread disease and bacteria with ease.

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies may like banana, but they also kind of look like one. Most fruit flies are bright yellow or orange, though some can also have brown spots. Unlike blowflies, fruit flies have keen red eyes and slow, cumbersome bodies. This type of fly feasts on rotting fruits. The sickly sweet stench of a decaying orange or apple can attract dozens of these insects. They’re also attracted to vinegar. While they’re not as aggressive as horse flies, fruit flies can bite humans. Unfortunately, fruit flies can also be disease vectors. They can spread or transmit a variety of food-borne illnesses and bacteria. This includes E. coli and salmonella. Consequently, fruit flies can be just as unhygienic and unsafe as carrion flies.


Gnats come in many varieties, but they’re all very small, winged, and annoying. You may notice gnats during the early morning hours or twilight hours. If you’ve ever had to jog through a gnat cloud, then you know just how powerful gnats can be. While gnats aren’t nearly as disease-ridden as carrion-eating blowflies, they can contribute to the transmission of pink eye. Additionally, some species of gnats can bite. These bites are often painless but itchy. You can help yourself get rid of household gnats by placing a bowl of apple cider vinegar out. By mixing a little sugar and dish soap with this vinegar, you can create a gnat trap. The hungry little bugs will go for the sugary scent but come into contact with the soap, causing their bodies and legs to get slippery. At this point, they won’t be able to haul themselves out of the solution, and they’ll drown. Of course, you could also choose to hire a professional technician to help you rid your home of these tiny, irritating bugs.

Lifespan of a Fly

Now that you’re familiar with the most common types of North American flies, you can diagnose your home’s fly issue and move forward with an extermination solution. But before you begin searching for the best pest control services, you may want to spend a moment learning a little more about the life cycle of the common fly. After all, if you can’t recognize fly larva, you might not be able to put an end to the cycle.


It can be challenging to find and destroy housefly eggs. That’s because flies tend to lay their eggs in very small, unpleasant places. Areas with lots of rotting organic matter are a favorite for maternal flies. Fly eggs resemble small grains of rice. Within several hours, these eggs expand in size. A single housefly egg will grow until it’s between seven and ten times its initial size. At this point, it may begin to wriggle and move. That’s because the egg has now entered the larval stage. You may be familiar with the larval stage of flies, as these worm-like creatures are colloquially known as maggots.


Fly larva tends to resemble legless white or translucent caterpillars. These larvae will continue to double or triple in size as they consume any nearby organic matter. Because fly larva doesn’t have legs or appendages to help them move, they rely on local food sources to survive. That’s why you can often find maggots inside of decaying animals or vegetation. The larva also use their energy source as a temporary shelter during this growth stage. Predatory insects or birds pose a significant risk to maggots, and they may burrow deeply into rotting tissue or foliage during this stage. Maggots are also sensitive to extreme temperatures and intense light. Consequently, you’re unlikely to see fly larva crawling around a clean, empty space. Instead, they’re often found in dark, damp, decomposing places. When a fly larva is full of food, it will find soft, malleable soil and burrow into it. While underground, the well-fed maggot will enter a brief period of hibernation. After about four days, a fly larva will enter its next life stage and become a pupa.


A typical housefly pupa resembles a cockroach egg sac or dissected beetle abdomen. It is dark brown or red with grooves that move laterally away from a central, vertical spine. In this stage, the growing housefly still does not resemble its adult self. Without legs or wings to move about, a housefly pupa will simply stay put. However, beneath this earthen-colored shell, the former maggot is busy at work. Like a caterpillar in a chrysalis, pupas are in the process of transforming themselves. After about a week, the newly-formed housefly will emerge from this protective armor and seek fresh air. Using its brand-new legs and wings, the adult will begin its search for reproductive partners and safe breeding grounds.


Fully-grown adult houseflies can live for several months if allowed to exist in predator-free conditions. However, nature doesn’t tend to be so kind. That’s why adult houseflies can begin mating within days of emerging from their pupal form. A single female housefly can lay almost a thousand eggs during her short adult life. And because the larval stage typically occurs within 24 hours of the egg stage, this rapid reproduction can cause massive problems. A pair of mating houseflies can become a horde of thousands in less than a month. Fortunately, you can get rid of adult houseflies before their natural expiration date. A residential pest control service may be more affordable than you initially assume. Besides, professional pest control technicians have the tools, technology, and know-how to help you say goodbye to any pesky pest problem.

Say Goodbye to Pesky Flies

If you’ve ever wondered, “How long do flies live?” you now know the answer. Fortunately, the common housefly tends to experience its entire life cycle within about a month. Homeowners can quickly get rid themselves of these pests. While it is possible to treat a fly problem without professional help, a pest control technician may be the better option. Professional technicians and service agents have years of experience and expertise to permanently destroy infestations. If you want to know more about pest control for flies or you need information on other flying insects, such as mosquitoes, please visit our website at https://synergy2ms.com.  Feel free to read more about us and decide if Synergy² is the right company for you.  We have over 200 Five-Star Google reviews for pest control service in the Jackson metro area (Jackson/Madison/Brandon/Ridgeland). Check out our newest location reviews for pest control service in Jackson, MS here!
Barry Pitts, Synergy² Owner

Barry Pitts, Synergy² Owner

Pharmacist and Synergy² Pest owner, Barry Pitts, is a long-time Madison, MS resident with a passion for applying advanced scientific pest principles to pest control services in the Jackson metro area.  Combining exceptional customer service with cutting-edge pest control technology allows Synergy² to provide residents of the Jackson metro area with the highest levels of pest control available today.

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