Life cycle of a house fly

The life cycle of a house fly begins in the egg stage. A female house fly is capable of laying up to 150 eggs in a batch. Over a period of a few days, she will produce five or six batches of eggs. Female house flies favour damp, dark surfaces such as compost, manure and other decomposing organic material for egg laying. House fly eggs resemble individual grains of rice.


Within a day, house fly eggs hatch into larvae, also known as maggots. Maggots are legless, white insects that feed from the egg-laying site for three to five days. During this time, maggots moult several times. They then choose a dark place to pupate.

Fly pupae are similar in function to butterfly cocoons: their hard, brown shells protect the inactive, developing flies. Over the course of three to six days, the pupae develop legs and wings, ultimately emerging as full-grown house flies. Within two to three days, female house flies are capable of reproduction.

house fly life cycle

Houseflies pass through four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The life expectancy of a housefly is generally 15 to 30 days and depends upon temperature and living conditions. Flies dwelling in warm homes and laboratories develop faster and live longer than their counterparts in the wild.

The housefly’s brief life cycle allows them to multiply quickly if left uncontrolled. Houseflies are known to carry over 100 diseases, including tuberculosis and cholera. They transmit diseases both by feeding and by carrying pathogens on their feet and mouths. Flies are fluid feeders and need to liquidise the food before they can eat it. To do this they produce quantities of saliva, this may be contaminated with disease causing agents, which have been regurgitated, from the salivary glands or the guts of the insects during the feeding process.



Electronic Fly Killers use an electrically charged high-voltage grid to kill the insects on contact. The dead insects fall into a catch tray suspended at the bottom of the machine. Sticky Fly Trap units, the insects land on the glue area of the board where they are held until they die. Boards should be changed at regular intervals and can be kept for insect identification or as record of ‘due diligence’.

CLICK HERE for a chart to identify different types of fly.

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