How Long Do Fruit Flies Survive Without Food?

At some point, we’ve all felt how bothersome fruit flies can be. They seem to come out of nowhere and swarm around fruits, covering them and feeding on them. These flies are incredibly small bugs that feed on bananas, mushrooms, potatoes, and most other perishable produce.

They’re hard to get rid of. How long do fruit flies survive without food?

  • Fruit flies can live up to seven days without eating.
  • They begin to die slowly after 4-5 days of starvation.
  • The availability of food is a key factor in determining their lifespan.

Read on to learn more about fruit flies, their lifecycle, what they are attracted to, and how to get rid of them.

How Long do Fruit Flies Survive Without Food?

Fruit flies can live up to 50 days in ideal conditions. However, this lifespan can be cut incredibly short without food. Without food, fruit flies can live for up to seven days. They start to die after 4-5 days without food.

As with all living creatures, food availability is a major factor influencing their lifespan. With enough food, they can live out their full days and reproduce.

Hence, controlling their population is difficult once they infest your home or other establishments.

The larvae feed on sugars and microorganisms, and the female lays her eggs on decaying vegetables or fermenting fruits. Rotting food is a huge attraction to fruit flies.

In the absence of food, fruit flies find liquids around the house that contain carbohydrates. 

They can easily survive on liquids and live in a damp environment without food access. They don’t have mouths, and “drink” all their foods. They don’t bite, either.

With these two alternatives to food, it is quite difficult to starve fruit flies out of your house.

However, there are other ways to get rid of them.

Lifecycle of a Fruit Fly

The lifecycle of a fruit fly is the same as that of most insects, with four stages of metamorphosis. Their development starts from the egg stage to the larvae and pupae before finally maturing to the adult stage.

1. Eggs

The lifecycle of a fruit fly begins at the egg stage. The female deposits eggs on rotting surfaces like sinks, trash cans, and fermented or decaying fruits and vegetables.

2. Larvae and Pupae

After a few days, the eggs metamorphose into cream-colored larvae. The larvae feast on ideal sources of sugar and bacteria. They attach to a dry surface near a food supply and develop into pupae.

3. Adult

After 48 hours, the pupae evolve into wingless adult flies which can breed. The entire lifecycle is a quick one, including transformation. 

Fruit flies feed on decaying and fermenting foods. They also lay eggs and breed on these choice surfaces. A single female can lay up to five hundred eggs under ideal conditions. 

Other Factors that Influence the Lifespan of a Fruit Fly 

The average lifespan of a fruit fly in ideal conditions is between 4-7 weeks. However, there are a few factors that can influence this number. These factors are available food, temperature, and population. 

The average lifespan of a fruit fly in ideal conditions is between 4-7 weeks.

We have already discussed how food influences their lifespan. We will briefly see how other factors affect their lifespan.

1. Temperature

Temperature is a major factor in the growth and development of fruit flies and majorly affects their lifespan. Not only does temperature influence the lifespan of an adult fruit fly, but it also influences the life cycle of fruit flies. 

According to the Center for Insect Science Education Outreach at the University of Arizona, a fruit fly’s egg takes ten days to develop into an adult fruit fly at room temperature of 25°C and thirteen days at 20°C. 

When the temperature is as low as 15°C, it takes 90 days to develop. Extremely high and low temperatures will kill adult fruit flies, shortening their lifespan. Though they can survive in your fridge for a few hours, the cold will eventually kill them.

2. Population

According to The University of Arizona Center for Insect Science Education  Outreach, a fruit fly’s lifespan may be reduced to about 12 days in an overpopulated environment. An overpopulated environment will result in the fruit flies in such environments struggling for food. 

As the struggle for food ensues, the weaker fruit flies will die off.

3. Genetics

A fruit fly’s genetic makeup also has the power to influence its lifespan. According to a study by the University of Arizona Center for Insect Science Education Outreach, mutant fruit flies usually have a shorter lifespan than normal ones.

What are Fruit Flies Attracted to?

Fruit Flies are mostly attracted to moist, overripe, and fermenting fruits and rotting vegetables. Fruit flies are also drawn to drains, trash bags, empty cans and bottles, and moist/damp environments.

Feeding on the sugar in fermentation produce and the microorganisms decomposing the food increases their life span. They are also encouraged to breed and lay eggs.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are a nuisance in many homes, and there are a few ways to eliminate them.

1. Fly Traps

One of the best ways to get rid of fruit flies is by making a fly trap. An apple cider vinegar trap is an excellent example of such a trap. 

To make the trap in your home, roll a piece of cardboard or paper into a funnel shape. Place it in a jar holding three ounces of apple cider vinegar, or otherwise cover the jar and poke holes in it.

The vinegar will attract the fruit flies, and they will be unable to escape once they are in the jar.

2. Aerosol Insecticide Sprays 

Fruit flies can be eliminated by spraying aerosol insecticide sprays into the air. A three-second spray containing the right products will kill most fruit flies present in the area.

You can even use essential oils to combat a fruit fly infestation.

3. Temperature Control

The ideal conditions for the development and growth of fruit flies is a warm and damp environment. Common fruit flies will not survive freezing and extremely high temperatures. If you have fruit flies in your drain, hit them with boiling water instead of bleach.

Although fruit flies will surely die without food for a week, starving them is not the best way to get rid of them, as they usually always find something to eat. However, you can ensure fruit flies have no access to food by getting rid of decaying produce that may attract them. It would be best to also keep the surfaces in your kitchen and home as clean as possible.