Science Questions

Do houseflies hibernate?

Sun, 4th May 2008

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Question

Clive asked:

There are very few houseflies to be seen in the wintertime but there are some. Do they hibernate in the winter months or do they move to warmer climes?

Answer

No, I donít think flies do go on holiday, they donít migrate. Flies only live for a maximum of two months but usually only about 15-24 days. Thereís a possibility that some of them might hang on until winter but they generally do much better when itís warmer. They can survive over winter and thatís actually another stage in their lifecycle which is as larvae or pupae. What happens with flies is they will lay eggs which hatch into larvae, otherwise known as maggots, which is lovely. They will be alright when the temperature drops and theyíll hang around in food and faeces and things like that. Lovely. If youíve got a pile of horse manure in your garden they might hang out there.

The larvae grow and then they will pupate so they will wrap themselves up in a tight little packet which will then sit around and survive the winter. That hatches into an adult. So the ones youíve seen in winter youíve notice are quite slow. They donít fly so quickly Ė much easier to swat. Theyíre really the ones from the tail-end of the summer population waiting to regrow again in the spring time.

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