The Fruit Fly Life Cycle and Lifespan

The fruit fly life cycle is a very interesting subject and is a necessary one to review if you have a few buzzing around your house. I have written briefly about this subject in another article but since then, I have been bombarded with additional questions and requests for more pictures so I decided to dedicate an entire article to this subject. Nobody likes the embarrassment of having them around your house when you have guests around to visit, not to mention the potential health risks it causes. It also gives the impression that you are unclean and although many have tried to fix the problem, unfortunately it can be very hard if you do not educate yourself about these red eyed bugs.

Fruit flies breed very fast and I have personally found that if you do not kill them at their source, you are going to be fighting a loosing battle. However, the fruit flies life cycle is actually quite amazing and will help you to understand more about how fruit flies reproduce. If you have ever wondered how fruit flies undergo the transformation from egg to that irritating bug that always seems to find its way into your fruit bowl, you have come to the right place. Understanding how they breed is one of the first steps that you can take in order to learn how to remove fruit flies. All the information has been carefully researched and will help you to learn more about the common household fruit fly in its early developmental phases. You can then use this valuable information about fruit fly reproduction to help you control your fly problem, which is the first step before you use fruit fly traps.

Fruit Fly Eggs – Where the Fruit Fly Life Cycle Begins

The First Step In The Reproduction Process

Picture of fruit fly eggs

Fruit Fly Eggs

Fruit flies usually lay their eggs in an area where their newborn babies have a place in which to feed when they hatch. This includes the Mediterranean fruit fly. This is very important as they are fairly immobile and depend upon their surroundings to sustain themselves. The most common place where a female fruit fly will lay her eggs is inside rotting fruit as the fermentation process creates additional sugar which is perfect for her offspring. Another requirement that any fruit fly mother needs to meet is the temperature needs to be about 25 degrees.

Although research shows that they can exist in slightly higher temperatures, (provided there is a high humidity) the place where she lays her eggs should not be below 20 degrees otherwise the baby fruit flies run the risk of dying which will bring an end to the life cycle of fruit fly. When she lays her eggs, she usually has enough to produce about 200-500 baby fruit flies. What makes things worse is that as soon as the female babies climb out of these fruit fly eggs, they are able to start reproducing about 24 hours later. The entire process of laying eggs to the time it takes for there to be a irritating fruit fly buzzing around your head is about 7 to 13 days so its no wonder that once you have a fruit fly problem that it can be so hard to get rid of it.

Fruit Fly Larvae – Halt! Maggot Time!

The Second Step In The Fruit Fly Life Cycle

Picture of fruit fly larvae

Fruit Fly Larvae

Fruit fly larvae is the next phase once the eggs have hatched. If you recall, fruit fly eggs take about 10 days to hatch, provided the conditions are right (temperature, etc) and these little worms are what pop out of those little shells. Their immediate requirement is to feed on a surgary substance and hence why it was critical that their mom placed them in a suitable area.

Worms are typically defined as having a long, thin body whereas the larvae we are referring to is short and fat. Take a few moments to examine the picture on the left to see what I mean. These maggots stay in this phase for a couple days, gouging themselves on as much food as they possibly can. Once your fruit has been infected with them, please make sure that you throw them away immediately and not just cut off the bad part. The reasoning behind it is because there is usually a large amount of bacteria present and exposure to it can cause you to become very sick so rather be safe then sorry. For more information, check out this article that contains info about the various stages of fruit fly growth.

Fruit Fly Puparium – The Metamorphosis Begins

The Third Step In The Fruit Fly Life Cycle Time

Picture of fruit fly puparium

Fruit Fly Puparium

At this point the larvae has consumed enough food and grown enough to grow a hard outer skin that will house it for about 4-6 days. While in this protect layering, a process known as metamorphosis takes place. It is a natural phenomenon that allows a living creature to change from one form to another and is an important part of a fruit fly lifespan. In this case, it will be transforming from a fat maggot to a winged insect which is nothing short of amazing. Its important to note that during the fruit fly puparium phase, the larvae does not feed on anything at all and depends completely on the food that it has stored in the previous stage of its lifespan. The fruit fly is almost ready to be born and reproduce and its been under a week since it was conceived. This extremely fast reproduction rate is one of the reasons why its hard to free yourself from a fruit fly infestation.

The Baby Fruit Fly Arrives!

The Last Step In The Fruit Fly Life Cycle

Last step of the fruit fly reproduction phases

Fruit Fly Life Cycle

As soon as the fruit fly comes out of the temporary home that kept it safe for a couple days, it is able to fly and feed on your precious fruit and vegetables. After a mere 60 hours or so, these new fruit flies are able to find a mate and lay their own set of eggs, with each generation bringing about 300 new fruit flies into existence. If you already have a major infestation, I highly recommend that you follow this article on how to make your own fruit fly trap from home.

So as you can see, these fruit flies can not only be a frustration to you and your family, but they can also pose a rather serious health risk, given that they hang around rotten food that’s fill of bacteria so if you have any around your house, I suggest that you try and get rid of them as soon as possible. Thanks for reading my article and don’t forget to share it with your friends so that they can also learn about the life cycle of fruit flies! :)

Natasha Anderson

Natasha Anderson

Hi there! My name is Natasha and I would like to thank you for reading this guide. If you have any concerns or would like to ask a question about this article, I encourage you to leave a comment below and I will provide a reliable answer within about 24 hours. Remember, all this information is provided at absolutely no cost and if you have enjoyed what you have read, please show your appreciation by sharing this post on your favorite social network below. I look forward to helping you!
Natasha Anderson
Natasha Anderson
Please note that the contents of this guide is for informational purposes only. If you would like to receive professional advice to diagnose a pest control related problem, please contact your local exterminator immediately.

Comments

  1. Tyron Ginsburg says:

    Thanks, going to use this for my school project!!!!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Cool! Hope you get high marks ;-)

  2. Amberdean says:

    This was very helpful and just the right amount of info I needed…my lizards cage has guilt flys in it and I say some weird white “worm” maggot in there and I looked up fruit fly larvae and found out that’s what it was and I was very interested In it so i googled it this was the first response ….now I’m goin to go clean his cage lol

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Amber! Fantastic, glad you found my blog first and most importantly, I am happy that it contained what you are looking for. Responses like these encourage me to keep writing more of these free guides :)

  3. Adam says:

    Thank you. My fruit fly culture is taking a little longer than I would like, and I was starting to worry about running out of food for my frogs. Now I know they will pop out of those little shells very soon (t’s been 4 days already) and can stop worrying

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Its a pleasure Adam, I am glad that I could help you ;)

  4. Frank Benfield says:

    Thank you very much for the information. I do however have a couple of questions. The first is regarding the egg laying. I have a large vegetable / flower garden,and I would like to know if they lay their eggs in growing plants, if they do, how would I combat this. The second question regards my compost bin, this seems to be the source of all the fruit flies in the known world. Perhaps I’ve exaggerated a bit there, but there seems to be a lot of them. Would it do me any good to poison them in the bin. If the answer to this is yes, do you have a poison that you would recommend [environmentally safe but effective]. Any help you could give, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Frank! They will only lay their eggs in your plants if they are damaged or fermenting so if they are healthy, you won’t have a problem with this. As for your rubbish bins, I recommend using a lemon scented ammonia spray. This will kill them and also keep them away from these areas. Good luck!

  5. Frank Benfield says:

    Thank-you for your prompt response. It’s good to know that they aren’t attacking my live plants. I haven’t tried the ammonia spray yet, but will give it a try. Again thank-you for your assistance.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Frank! Its a pleasure, I am glad that you have found my advice to be useful :) Let me know how it goes! Cheers

  6. Mary G. says:

    No one has mentioned my favorite way to get rid of fruit flies. I take the vacuum (hand held part) and vacuum them out of the air. If the infestation is severe, be sure to vacuum them up from cabinet doors, walls, and anywhere else they are lurking. Of course, you need to go after the source then and clean that up. I sometimes leave something “yummy” like a piece of cantaloupe rind out so it will attract the ones I’ve missed. I may have to come back several times to vacuum up more that somehow were missed. If you want to “clap” them out of the air, it helps a lot if your hands are wet.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Mary! Thanks for your tip, that’s actually a rather effective way to do it and requires minimal effort. Sometimes the most simple approaches will work and I appreciate your contribution to the community! :)

  7. Adela says:

    My personal favorite way to get rid of fruit flies to to put a splash of sweet wine, cider, or fruity vinegar in a glass with another splash of water and a few drops of liquid soap. Mix together, leave out overnight, and presto! You’ll catch most of your fruit flies in a day or two.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Adela! Thanks for your suggestions, much appreciated. :)

  8. help please! says:

    So have been having some fruit fly issues. finially found the source in a cabinet that we never use. 2 bags of rotten potatoes, somehow left there and forgotten. So to ensure no more eggs, any special cleaning products I should use? Bleach? Hopefully I can survive the cleaning process, cant stop gagging, so discusting. Granted just so u know the house were in now is my parents and dad died mom moved out. Hard to tell how long those taters have been there. Just surprised weve never smelled anything or seen any fruit flys until it started getting colder out. But any suggestions would be a great help :) I also have a picture, but it wont let me put it on here.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey! Yes bleach will do the job well. I recommend that you get rid of any other rotten food and keep your outside bins properly sealed. Other than that, perhaps try build a couple of my DIY fruit fly traps, they are easy to make and super cheap. Good luck!

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