How Long Do Fruit Flies Live Without Food?

The tiny flies circling over fruit pieces on your kitchen countertop can make you wonder, “How long will they live until you finally get rid of them?” 

Although their lifespan shouldn’t concern you, you’ll naturally question their survival period because they cause a terrible nuisance in your house. 

How Fast do Fruit Flies Reproduce? Where Do They Come From?

Of course, you cannot spray pest repellent because these flies stick to food. Otherwise, you’ll spread the bug control chemicals on your food. So, how long can they go without food? Luckily, not long enough! 

Keep reading to get your questions answered!

What Do Fruit Flies Feed On? 

Fruit flies, generally active during warm, sunny days, feed not only on fruits, but leaves, vegetables, and other decaying matter. Here’s is a list of what they love: 

  • Rotten bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Honeydew
  • Vegetables 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Plant secretions 
  • Apples 
  • Strawberries 
  • Melon
  • Fermented fruits 
  • Sap flows 
  • Rotten onions 
  • Mushrooms 

Note that this list isn’t exhaustive. So, coming across fruit flies other than the food listed above shouldn’t surprise you. 

This notorious fly also feeds on harvested fruit and crops, wreaking havoc on them. So, if you love growing fruit in your garden, consider using fly control systems. 

Adult fruit flies typically eat 1.7 microliters per day for around 3 days. Their diet, however, increases within the next 4-30 days and drops to 1.5 microliters again. 

The Average Lifespan of Fruit Flies

The adult female fruit flies lay around 2,000 eggs on anything rotten or moist. After 30 hours, the larvae hatch and begin to feed on the decaying food. 

In less than 2 days, they are fully grown and ready to mate. 

Although the transformation is pretty quick, their average lifespan is no more than 8-15 days. So, even if a fruit fly has invaded your home, you won’t see them after 15 days.  

How Long Can They Live Without Food?

Because they’re named “Fruit flies,” food plays a critical role in their survival. Simply put, they won’t go long enough without it.

Generally, they’ll survive for up to 7 days without food. They begin to die when they starve for 4-5 days. 

Rest assured, you won’t find them after a week in your home if you deprive them of food. Try storing your food in a fridge or sealed cans and jars and wait until they expire. 

Aside from food, note that they can also survive on carbohydrates. So, if you’ve kept uncovered beverages or your home provides dampness, they would survive longer – not more than their average lifespan, nonetheless.

Factors that Effect Their Lifespan

Several factors affect the average lifespan of fruit flies. We’ll explore a few below to give you an insight into what may cause them to live more or less. 


The University of Washington School of Medicine unfolds that there are around 14,000 fruit fly genes that significantly affect its lifespan.

A strain of fruit flies with a particular genetic makeup may survive longer than those with another genotype. 


Temperature is yet another crucial factor that determines the length of their survival. A 2020 research unveils that fruit flies have a higher metabolic rate and typically live shorter lifespans at high temperatures

Although they are more active in warmer climates, they would not survive the scorching summer heat and will die soon. 


A larger fruitfly population will affect their lifespan for apparent reasons. The higher the number, the more they’ll struggle to survive for food. 

Because they cannot go long without eating, the weak ones will starve and eventually die. 

Health Risks of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies, apart from being irritating, risk your health, too. Research indicates that they can transfer germs from a bacteria-laden surface to a clean one. 

The bacteria may carry the hazardous E.coli, salmonella, and listeria. Unfortunately, these bacterias are infamous for causing food poisoning. 

In fact, a severe food poisoning case may hospitalize you or prove to be fatal in worst-case scenarios. 

Tips On Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

It isn’t wise to wait until fruit flies starve and die. Instead, taking preventive measures to kill these insects helps in the long run. Here are a few tips that’ll come in handy to remove fruit flies and prevent them from hatching. 

  • Spot their breeding places. Did you forget to discard the rotten apple laying on your countertop, or was there a food piece under the fridge you didn’t throw? Carefully observe the hidden places in your kitchen and toss away the root source. 
  • Set traps. Fill a small jar with an alcoholic beverage and make a cone out of paper. Place the cone with its narrow end pointing upward. The cone will successfully trap them. You can also switch the beverage with vinegar, yeast, or rotten fruit. 
  • Keep your home clean. An obvious solution but not the one to be taken for granted. Always practice the best hygiene habits in your home. Make sure you clean your drain and take out the trash regularly. Besides, mop your floor and countertops with the best surface cleaner available. 
  • Seal all food containers. Do not invite the fruit flies by keeping uncovered food in your kitchen. Be it fruit or vegetables, always keep your food in air-tight containers. 
  • Use a pest spray. While we do not advocate its usage in your home, you can try it if nothing else seems to work. However, make sure you read the label to double-check if it contains any chemicals. Further, skim through the safety guidelines, cover your food, and proceed with spraying. 

Closing Notes 

Because your kitchen always has something to eat, it isn’t a cakewalk to keep the fruit flies from coming. 

What you can do, however, is take care of all the sources that attract the notorious bug. From garbage dumps to drains and trash cans, clean everything regularly to control their spread. 

Fruit flies thrive about a week without food, but it is always better to take preventive measures as soon as you spot a fly buzzing around your trash can or food slices on the countertops. 

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