House Fly Life Cycle

Picture of House Fly

Common in temperate regions like New England, the house fly often comes into contact with humans by regularly invading homes, farms, and other indoor areas in urban and rural environments.


The pervasive presence of house flies stems from the ability of the insects to reproduce more rapidly than other fly species. This creates large populations of offspring in relatively short periods of time. These flies achieve sexual maturity and become capable of reproducing within 16 to 24 hours of completing the life cycle and reaching adulthood.

To attract a mate and begin the reproductive process, the female house fly produces a pheromone called muscalure. While males often breed with many different partners, females typically mate only once.

Eggs and Larva

The first stage in the house fly life cycle starts with female house flies laying fertilized eggs in batches of up to 200. Depending on the weather, they may hatch in less than eight hours or up to two days.

The second stage, larvae (also referred to as maggots) are white in color and look similar to worms. Larvae burrow and feed on decaying material. They measure about 3/8 of an inch long.

Pupa and Adult

The pupal stage (the third phase of the house fly life cycle) is the last stage before adulthood. Pupae develop into adults within a hard, reddish-brown case/capsule called a puparium. These flies pupate about three or four days before emerging as fully developed adults with wings.

During the colder seasons, however, pupation may take weeks or even months to complete. From egg to adult, the entire house fly life cycle finishes within a minimum of seven to 10 days. They need about three weeks to mature fully after hatching.

How Long Do House Flies Live?

The house fly lifespan ranges from two or three weeks during the summer to as long as three months during colder weather.

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