fruit fly on fruit

Stages of Life

Fruit flies are short-lived insects that breed rapidly and are common household nuisances. Like many insects, they go through several distinct phases during their life cycle.

Eggs
The tiny flies begin life as eggs, which females usually lay on the skin of ripe fruits or vegetables. Female fruit flies deposit eggs near the surface of fermenting fruits and vegetables or in poorly sealed containers housing these foods.

Larvae
Hardly visible to the naked eye, the eggs hatch within 30 to 48 hours and produce small, cream-colored larvae (maggots) that emerge to begin feeding immediately.

Pupa
The maggots then pupate after five days and emerge as sexually active adults within another 48 hours.

Adults
A few days later, they emerge as winged adult fruit flies. Adult flies typically achieve sexual maturity within 48 hours.

Fruit flies enjoy a lifespan of about 40 or 50 days and have been known to lay up to 500 eggs during that time.

Factors Affecting the Fruit Fly Lifespan

The length of the fruit fly life cycle is largely dependent on the ambient temperature of the environment. At high temperatures, flies mature quickly and can complete their entire maturation in a week.

For this reason, late summer is often the peak of fruit flies infestations, although the insects can be found indoors year-round.

Rapid Breeding

One reason fruit flies are considered such a nuisance is their ability to breed rapidly.

They reach sexual maturity in a matter of days and are capable of laying hundreds of eggs in places like the skin of overripe fruit, dirty garbage disposals, piles of damp rags, and garbage cans.

A single pair of breeding fruit flies can quickly turn into a major infestation that proves difficult to eradicate without professional help.

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