How Long Does The Fruit Fly Live?

The fruit fly is one of the pests that can be a real nuisance in summer. Enjoying fruit can be difficult when it is occupied by fruit flies. Even if you think that these small flies are present throughout the summer and would prefer to consume the fruit, the question is how long fruit flies actually live. By answering this question, targeted control of fruit flies can be implemented and it is more likely to be possible to estimate when the effect will be complete.

The life span of fruit flies

Where Do Fruit Flies Come From? | Live Science

The answer to the question of how long fruit flies live is not so clear and easy to answer. Various conditions and lifestyles must be taken into account here.

In general, it is assumed that the fruit fly can live up to two months. So it is by no means a mayfly and is only alive for a few days. If you don’t get rid of the fruit fly in time, it may settle on your fruit all summer long and produce offspring.

However, under laboratory conditions, only a maximum life span of two weeks has been proven so far. So the question of lifespan depends on where and how the fruit fly lives.

Why the fruit fly only lives up to a maximum of two weeks under laboratory conditions has not yet been fully investigated.

The life stages of fruit flies

The life of the fruit fly is quite turbulent at the beginning. Fruit flies lay eggs and larvae hatch from them. Within 10 days, the young go through three larval stages and one pupal stage.

The life of fruit flies is as fast-paced as it is varied. In the pupal stage, for example, the fruit flies can hibernate and thus survive the colder temperatures.

Depending on environmental influences, the development of the fruit fly is accelerated or slowed down. Thus, development to the adult fruit fly can take up to 60 days.

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However, it is remarkable that the fruit fly is already sexually mature 24 hours after reaching the adult stage. Thus, it can sire the next generation within 10 days and lay several hundred eggs.

In terms of lifespan, a distinction must still be made between the males and the females. While the females can live up to two months, the males have a much shorter life span.

They only reach an age of about 10 days. After sexual maturity and the first fertilization they have to pass away.

Fighting fruit flies

Now that you know that the fruit fly can live up to two months, you should quickly start to fight the fruit fly. Because just by putting away the fruit you will not get rid of the fruit flies. Within their life span, fruit flies are able to feed on numerous food sources and survive there.

There are some home remedies available for fighting fruit flies.

The home remedies usually aim to have you pour vinegar or another sweet liquid into a bowl and then add detergent. The vinegar or sugary liquid will attract the fruit flies and the detergent will prevent the critters from landing on the surface. This is because the detergent lowers the surface tension, which causes the animals to sink into the liquid.

In this way, you can quickly and effectively control the animals. However, the animals die and if you just want to relocate the animals, then you should use a fruit fly trap.

A fruit fly trap like the following will leave the animals alive and you can relocate them. This is definitely the more animal friendly way to get rid of the pests.

What attracts the fruit fly?

As the name correctly suggests, the fruit fly is attracted primarily to older fruit. The older fruit has the advantage that the fruit fly does not have to exert great force to break through the skin. The fruit is already soft and very easy to penetrate.

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This allows the fruit fly to get food very easily on the one hand and to lay eggs in the fruit itself on the other. In many cases, the tiny fruit fly eggs are already on the fruit you buy at the supermarket.

However, you can remove the eggs by washing them thoroughly. Eating the eggs is not harmful – but the idea is still unappetizing.

Not only fruit attracts fruit flies, but also vinegar or other sweet liquids have a magical effect on these tiny animals. That’s why these very attractants are recommended for building a fruit fly trap.

If you want to avoid fruit flies, then you should not leave fruit for too long and consume it in time. Leftover fruit should also be disposed of quickly. The trash can should not be open, but have a cover.

If you follow these measures and wash the fruit directly after purchase, then in most cases you can prevent fruit flies from reproducing in your kitchen in the first place.

For all other cases, purchase a fruit fly trap and relocate the fruit flies. Since the females can live up to two months, you may still be able to find a suitable place in your garden where the flies won’t bother you.

The fruit fly as a laboratory animal

Because the life span of the fruit fly is very short and many generations can be bred within a very short time, the fruit fly is a popular laboratory animal.

Fruchtfliegen Lebensdauer - Genetik

In genetics, the fruit fly has already led to important findings. With a short lifespan and rapid generation succession, it can be crucial for observing genetic changes.

For example, did you know that the fruit fly made an important contribution to a Nobel Prize in medicine?

The fruit fly made it possible to identify genes that were highly important for embryonic development. In 1995, the European biologist Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine together with her research colleagues Eric Wieschaus and Edward Lewis Gene.

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So it shows that even a short-lived life like that of the fruit fly can be of high importance.

However, fruit flies have not been shown to have any real intelligence. For example, the little animals cannot learn by observing. So when they see other fruit flies drowning in the vinegar trap, they cannot draw the conclusion that they should rather avoid the trap. This is what makes the fruit fly trap so effective in the first place, and it can be used for several days.

However, the rapid generation sequence can also lead to the onset of evolutionary cognitions. This is because fruit flies that are not attracted to vinegar have a natural advantage and will reproduce in your kitchen. If you continue the experiment, then in the long run there will only be flies in your kitchen that theoretically should not be attracted to vinegar.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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