The adult carrot flies are small black flies with a yellow head.
Female adult carrot flies lay eggs on or near carrots and other host plants in late May and June and in August to September.
The larvae look like typical maggots – creamy or creamy-yellow, legless, headless and up to 9mm (1/3in) long.
There are up to three generations per year, between late spring and autumn.
When fully fed, the maggots stop eating and turn into brown pupae. Depending on the generation, they either emerge as adult flies a few weeks later, or remain as pupae in the soil or in the roots over winter. These then emerge as adult flies the following spring.