Which Bugs Live the Shortest?

Which bugs have the shortest life span?

Bugs are one of the most annoying types of animals to have around. They’re small, pesky, and they come in their thousands. If you have bugs in your home, it will sure feel like they live forever.

However, it may surprise you to find out that bugs have a very short lifespan. In fact, they have some of the shortest life spans in the animal kingdom. Some bugs don’t even live a day! This leads to the question: which bugs live the shortest?

Of all the bugs, mayflies have the shortest lives. They only live a couple of hours to a day. Drone ants, house flies, fruit flies, pantry moths, and dragonflies also have very short lifespans. They only live for a few days.

But why? Why don’t these bugs have longer lives? Does it have something to do with their lifestyle, how small they are, or how they were created?

Let’s dive in and have a closer look at each of these little bugs. We’ll see how long they live, and why they don’t live longer than that. So without further adieu, let’s get started.

If you enjoy reading this article, why not check out our articles on What Are Scorpions Attracted To? Let’s Find Out and Which Pests Can Peppermint Repel?


Have you ever experienced a mayfly invasion in your home? From time to time, thousands of mayflies flock on any light sources they can find. During the nighttime, you’ll find a lot of them flying all over your house.


While they are not harmful in any way, these mayflies can be a real nuisance. They will be all over the place, clogging your gutters and spreading a bad smell. There are several ways that you can get rid of them. However, if it isn’t too bad, all you have to do is wait for the next day and they’ll be gone.

Mayflies appear in sheer numbers one night but are gone the next day. Have you ever wondered where they go the next day? That’s right, they’re already dead.

Life Cycle:

That’s the whole life of mayflies. Once they evolved from their nymph state and grow wings, they only have a few hours to live. They don’t have mouths or digestive systems, so they can’t eat. Their sole purpose is to mate and lay eggs. Once this is done, they pass away.

That said, mayflies do have a longer life before they grow their wings. The eggs are laid on water, and once they hatch, little nymphs emerge. These nymphs stay in the water anywhere from two weeks to two years. So their entire lifespan isn’t that short after all.

However, when they reach the last stage of their lives, they are so different it’s almost as if they are a new species. It’s like caterpillars and butterflies, you will never know they are the same animal. That’s why mayflies are said to have the shortest life in the whole animal kingdom.

Reading about mayflies may cause you to wonder… which bugs live the longest? We’ve got an article about that! Check out: Which Bugs Live the Longest?

Fruit Flies

Don’t you hate it when you leave fruit in the open, only to come back to it being covered in flies? Fruit flies are a very annoying pest to have around. What’s worse, they also carry bacteria, viruses, and other bad things on them. So there’s always a possibility you’ll get food poisoning if there are fruit flies on your fruits.

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Fruit flies flock whenever there is fruit to eat. They can puncture tiny holes on fruit and get to the sweet goodness inside. Aside from that, fruit flies also lay their eggs inside of decaying fruit. This is the beginning of their short life cycle.

Life Cycle:

Once the eggs hatch, the fruit fly larva seeks out dark spaces. They stay here and hide for a few days until their legs and wings grow. Once they have those, they fly off in search of a new fruit to eat and lay eggs on.

The entire cycle lasts around two weeks. After that, they die off just like their ancestors. But what they leave behind are hundreds of eggs. This way, they can be sure that they will have offspring and their species will survive fourteen days at a time.

Fruit flies are pretty interesting little creatures. Want to know more about them? Read Everything You Need to Know About Fruit Flies.

Drone Ants

Ants are one of the most painful pests to have around your house. Combine this with their enormous colonies, you have a pest that is very unpleasant to have around. They are also quite difficult to get rid of.


Most ants live for a relatively long time, but some of them only live for a few days. In ant colonies, each ant has a role. There are workers, queens, and drones. Drones are the ants that are responsible for mating and reproduction. Without drones, the colony will not grow nor survive.

You can tell drone ants apart by their wings. These ants can fly, but they spend most of their time deep in the ant mound with the queen. Once they mate with the queen, their life purpose is finished and they die. That’s why drone ants are rarely seen.

Life Cycle:

From time to time, drone ants leave the mound. They fly away from their colony, hoping to start a new one elsewhere. This is the only time we see drone ants flying around. Once they’ve settled down and started a new colony, these flying drones also die.

In all, drone ants live for about one to two weeks. Though their life is short, this doesn’t hurt the ant colony in any way. With thousands of eggs laid, these drones are quickly replaced.

House Flies

Whenever flies land on your food, your instant reaction is always to shoo them away. Why? Because we all know how dirty these animals are. They carry with them so many germs and diseases. If they get to your food, they can pollute it and get you sick. That’s why house flies are so hated.


House flies are always around, it might seem like they live very long. However, this can’t be further from the truth. Flies have one of the shortest lifespans of all bugs.

Life Cycle:

House flies only live up to thirty days. Like all the other bugs we’ve seen, they only breed once. But when they breed, they lay thousands of eggs wherever they go. When these eggs hatch, little maggots come out.

Those maggots you see in the trash, rotting fruit, and carcasses are baby flies. After a few days, they develop wings and fly off looking for a mate. They find a mate, lay a thousand eggs, then die.

The reason why flies are always around is that they have no breeding season. This means that flies are always on the move throughout the year. Fly eggs also hatch in less than a day. That’s why house flies are a very common problem today. Despite their short life, they are very difficult to get rid of because of how fast they breed.

Pantry Moths

Another very annoying thing to find are moths in your pantry. Most moths won’t bother you, but there’s one type of moth that loves getting into your food containers. Which moth? The pantry moth of course!


Pantry moths come in grey, brown, or tan. There are so many types of moths, but the pantry moth is easily recognizable. It is a moth that is well-known for getting into food containers and spoiling the food. They also fill these containers with their larva, making whatever was inside inedible.

Life Cycle:

The good news is that these pests don’t live too long. They have a lifespan of around fifty days but sometimes live for only a month. That’s why they need to reproduce fast.

One simple way of getting rid of these pests is to seal your containers tight. This way, they won’t be able to get in. And when they can’t get in your pantry, they won’t have food to eat or a place to lay their eggs either.


The last animal on our list is the dragonfly. Unlike the five other bugs, this beautiful insect is not a pest in any way. Instead, it’s actually good for your garden to have a few dragonflies flying around.


Dragonflies are carnivores, and their favorite snack is mosquitoes. They also love eating flies, so having dragonflies can keep these pesky pests at bay.

Image result for copyright free images  of Dragonflies

Life Cycle:

Sadly, dragonflies don’t live long. The process from egg to nymph to a mature dragonfly takes quite a while. But once a dragonfly has matured in all its glory, it doesn’t have a lot of time anymore.

With a lifespan of around four months, dragonflies outlive a lot of bugs in this list. They also lay several batches of eggs in their life. In their short life, dragonflies can lay thousands of eggs. And unlike the other bugs, this isn’t a bad thing.


From this list, we see that a lot of times, pests don’t live that long. The reason why they are so difficult to deal with has to do with how fast they reproduce. That’s why if you can control the breeding of these pests, they won’t last very long. They will only last up to a month, or even less than a day depending on the pest you’re dealing with.

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not check out our articles on Why Do I Have Cockroaches in My Home? and Are Ladybugs Poisonous?

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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